ecoartspace

Earthkeepers CALL FOR ARTISTS – Deadline 9/1

The Earthkeepers Handbook: recipes and remedies for healing the land and ourselves

Taking cues from the 1976 homestead handbook by Kim Abeles titled Crafts, Cookery and Country Living (background image), this fall 2022 we will assemble an ecoartspace “Members Handbook” for healing ourselves and the land.

Get your favorite recipes ready for making art materials, concoctions, spells, foods, and remedies. You can even submit a manifestoà la Mierle Ukeles (above), or directions on how to develop special skills. The objective is to share your knowledge and help make the world a better place. 

NOTE: Hand drawn images and text are encouraged (à la Abeles), although typed text and photographs are accepted.

The Plan: Our goal with this book is to include as many members as possible, at least 200-300. The fee for submitting recipes/remedies is to cover the cost of designing and editing the book, and reviewers fees.

The reviewers are not looking to eliminate recipes, and will only be making sure that there’s not too much repetition. Though they may ask for revisions if needed. They will also be organizing the book layout/design by themes and will write introductory essays.

The book will initially be available online, launching this fall, and a limited edition printed book will be ready at the start of 2023.

We are encouraging an ethos that challenges systemic racism and colonial extraction, which are at the core of ecocide. And, we will place importance on the inclusion of indigenous and LGTBQ voices. This book will represent the mission of ecoartspace which encourages a non-hierarchical, open-source dissemination of creative and ecofeminist wisdom; exactly what’s lacking today in addressing human actions and interventions in the land that are causing the climate to change so quickly.

Other sources to consider regarding developing replicable social practice projects, see HighWaterLine Guide and SOS Action Guides (Watts, 2013-2014).

Note: The title Earthkeepers was inspired by the Heresies Magazine issue #13: Earthkeeping / Earthshaking: Feminism & Ecology (Volume 4, Number 1), 1981.

Timeline:

Deadline for submissions is September 1, 2022

Review submissions September and contact artists if needed for revisions

Book will be designed in October

The online book will launch by November 2022

Our goal is to go to print in December/January 2022

The printed book will launch by February 2023

REVIEWERS

Photo: Ken Marchionno

Kim Abeles explores society, science literacy, feminism, and the environment, creating projects with science and natural history museums, health departments, air pollution control agencies, and National Park Service. NEA-funded projects involved a residency at the Institute of Forest Genetics; and Valises for Camp Ground in collaboration with Camp 13, a group of female prison inmates who fight wildfires. Permanent outdoor works include sculptural Citizen Seeds along the Park to Playa Trail in Los Angeles, and Walk a Mile in My Shoes, based on the shoes of the Civil Rights marchers and local activists. Abeles has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, J. Paul Getty Trust Fund, and her process documents are archived at the Center for Art + Environment. Her work is in public collections including MOCA, LACMA, CAAM, Berkeley Art Museum, and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. “Kim Abeles: Smog Collectors, 1987-2020” is a survey exhibition of the environmental series, presented at CSU Fullerton (2022) and CSU Sacramento (2023). Recent publications about her projects include New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the book, Social Practice: Technologies for Change, Routledge Press (2022). https://kimabeles.com

WhiteFeather Hunter is a multiple award-winning Canadian artist and scholar, holding an MFA in Fibres and Material Practices from Concordia University. She is currently a PhD candidate in Biological Arts at the University of Western Australia, supported by a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, Australian Government International Scholarship and University of Western Australia International Postgraduate Scholarship. Before commencing her PhD, WhiteFeather was founding member and Principal Investigator of the Speculative Life BioLab at the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology at Concordia University (Montreal) from 2016-2019. Her biotechnological art practice intersects technofeminism, witchcraft, micro and cellular biology with performance, new media and craft. Recent presentations include at Ars Electronica, Art Laboratory Berlin, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Royal College of Art London, Innovation Centre Iceland, and numerous North American institutions. WhiteFeather’s recent doctoral research into developing a novel menstrual serum for tissue engineering experiments was spotlighted by Merck/ Sigma-Aldrich for International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021 as part of their #nextgreatimpossible campaign. www.whitefeatherhunter.ca

APPLY HERE

(Top image: Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Washing/Tracks/Maintenance: Outside (July 23, 1973), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art ©Mierle Laderman Ukeles)

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ecoartspace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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Member Spotlight I Marietta Patricia Leis

This week we recognize Marietta Patricia Leis in Santa Fe, New Mexico and her series from 2019 titled ENGRAINED: Ode to Trees.

“We’ve always known trees—they grow along with us marking our lives. Perhaps there has been a favorite tree in your life—one that you climbed, picked fruit from or one that defined your property from another or you contemplated outside your classroom window. Trees are special friends because they provide us with so much—shelter, shade, nourishment, beauty, protection, refuge, regeneration and a purifier of our air. The Japanese have an activity they call “bathing in the woods,” walking among trees to dispel the stress of life and maintain mental health. It is no wonder then that we grieve when a tree(s) goes missing.”

“I am an outed tree-hugger. I have said hello and good-bye and goodnight to trees. I have thanked them and loved them and I have mourned their loss. In fact it was the loss of my 30-foot high spruce tree, the one that lured me to the property where I lived and worked, which died shortly after I moved in, that provided the first physical materials and impetus. Maybe its job was over when it found me but my job had just begun.”“Even as I mourned the loss of the spruce I saved slices of the Spruce’s trunk that eventually transformed intosome of the art forms in this homage to forests, tree canopies, felled trees, reforested trees, the mighty great grandfather trees and the baby sprout. As a multimedia artist I was inspired to use my entire tool chest ofvideos, sculpture, paintings and prints to tell the story of trees and appeal to as many of the viewer’s senses as possible. My reductive art is intended to reach beyond our familiar intellectual understanding to a place where instinct and feelings lie.”

“There is no ugly tree but there are people that commit ugly acts against trees by not caring for them—starving them—or killing them often with a sad price to pay. E.G; Iceland has a dramatic barren landscape without trees because the early settlers used them for housing and fires. Now the planting of new trees in their volcanic landscape has proven almost impossible. Icelandic people I have spoken with had never grown up with trees but longed for them the way an orphan longs for parents. And, then there is the cutting of forests where greed canovercome our need for preservation.”

“My hope is that my art will attract the viewer with beauty and invigorate our love and need for trees and propel us to save them for our planet’s health, grace and survival for future generations!”

Tree

Oh majestic tree
how safe I feel
hugging your stable trunk
Although you tower over me
you protect my soul
from unbelieving

Leis’s most recent book of poetry titled Engrained is available for purchase in the ecoartspace store (click image below).

Marietta Patricia Leis    considers herself a lifetime artist. The arts have been her primary focus since she was a child growing up in New Jersey. She studied and performed as a dancer at 14 and then moved to New York City when she was 17 where she studied the Stanislavski Method of acting with Lee Strasberg. Between classes and gigs as a dancer, actor and model, she was making paintings and began to show her work in the East Village. In 1962, she moved to Los Angeles for her acting career and played minor roles in film as she continued to paint. Visual art eventually became her primary form of creative expression, which led her to New Mexico and an MFA from the University of New Mexico. A longtime fan of minimalism, one of Leis’ major goals has been to evoke emotion from simplistic elements. Extensive travels have influenced her concerns for the planet, its sustainability and the inter-connectivity of everything in it. The ENGRAINED Series was exhibited at the New Mexico Museum of Art in 2020, and most recently included in a large solo exhibition titled Sense Memories at the Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, 2020-2021. www.mariettaleis.com


Featured Images: ©Marietta Patricia Leis, Seed 27, 2018, oil on panel, 59 x 49.75 inches, Traces 4, 2018, oil on Spruce wood, 17 x 14 x 16 inches;  Remembrances 2, 2018, burnt Spruce wood, lacquer, steel, 23 x 22.4 x 3 inches; Tree, 2018, mixed media installation, 9 x 9 feet; Sense Memories installation shot at CAA, Santa Fe, 2021: Engrained: Reflections on Trees in Poetry, book published 2021; Artist portrait in front of Silent Road, 2019, tyvek, mixed media (below).

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ecoartspace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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Member Spotlight l Stephen Whisler

This week we recognize Stephen Whisler who began his journey of art and nature in the late 1970s. Above is his work Der Goldwald made in the Black Forest, Germany in 1979.

“The Plant Works series (below) are photographs that I worked on from 1977 to 1980, documents of my private performances with plants. At that time I was intrigued with the notion that all of human and animal energy is ultimately derived from plants which take their energy from the sun. These early performances of mine were an attempt to show that relationship in a shamanistic fashion, performing a kind of ritual with the plants. I would sometimes use a knife to cut into the plant and then press the flesh of my hand into the cut, or I would transfer something from the plant to myself as in Plant Work 11 where I take the spines from one palm of a prickly pear cactus and stick them into the palm of my hand.” 

“As I traveled to various locations in California, Arizona and Germany I would set up my camera on a tripod and using a shutter release cable I photographed the performance myself with no one else present. Early in the project I mostly used a three image format in the printing but later I sometimes found that one or two images told the story. I see the photographs not only as the document of the performances but as art works in themselves. Of course photographs also use the energy from the sun to lock a point of time onto film and paper in a kind of symbiotic relationship with my performances. As I look back at these works from 45 years ago I still feel the yearning of my young self to make a connection with the plant world and our world itself; just trying to make some sense out of my existence on earth.”

Above are Whisler’s Titan launch drawings from 2016 and his performative work with a sculpture titled Walking The Bomb from 2017. He states “The Bomb is a human scale version of Little Boy, the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. This bomb-shaped sculpture is exactly my size, and is handcrafted from wood and sheet metal. Dressed in a dark grey suit with a white shirt, I walk the streets towing The Bomb behind me.” The performance was first initiated in Joshua Tree, California and a recent iteration was included in the ecoartspace exhibition Fragile Rainbow: Traversing Habitats curated by Sue Spaid at the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, in New York City, May 2022. 

Whisler has created works on paper, sculptures, and performances as part of an ongoing investigation of military actions. Through these works, the viewer can appreciate the formal aspects with bold shapes, richly colored and textured surfaces, and dazzling compositions; while also considering the meaning behind images of war planes, atomic bombs, and other tools of destruction. The artist’s tight focus forces us to confront the reality of modern warfare. In a plane or drone, the war is fought from a distance. Humans are far from sight. Up close, the ominous silhouettes and angular shapes of military equipment are imposing and hard to ignore. His imagery often forces the viewer to question whether they are a spectator or a target.Stealth 1 (below) from 2019 is a pastel drawing of a stealth bomber. To create these large-scale drawings (20 x 70 inches), Whisler looks at imagery sourced from the internet, then draws them in Illustrator. He uses this hard-edge template to create the final large-scale drawings, which are rendered in thousands of pastel fingerprints. He refers to the fingerprints as “the most ancient ‘digital’ technique,” like thousands of bits of evidence; evidence of the horrible potential of human creations.

Stephen Whisler was born into a military family in the middle of the age of anxiety in the 1950s. His father was a Navy pilot, and the family of five moved often, from the East Coast where he was born in Virginia, to California and back to the East Coast, Taiwan and then California again. Whisler studied art at UC Davis where he met his wife, Sabine Reckewell. After receiving his MFA at Claremont Graduate University the couple moved to New York where they lived and worked for 27 years. He has exhibited his work at Artist’s Space, The New Museum and various other galleries and museums in New York, California, Chicago and Wisconsin. In 2008, Whisler and his wife sold their downtown New York City loft and moved to Napa, California where they lived and worked for thirteen years. Recently, they returned to the East Coast and settled in Saugerties, New York where the artist continues his explorations.  stephenwhisler.net

Featured Images: ©Stephen Whisler, Der Goldwald, Black Forest, 1979, Gold leaf on birkin, birch; ©Stephen Whisler, Plant Works, 1976 to 1980, photographs; ©Stephen Whisler, Titan Titan II Launch, 2016, V2 in Der Wüste, 2016, and Titan II Launch II, 2016;©Stephen Whisler, Walking the Bomb, 2017, Joshua Tree, California; ©Stephen Whisler, The Fat Man at 11:02 AM, 2018, Papier-mache, wood steel and steel wire, room sized installation with actual size sculpture of the Fat Man bomb used on Hiroshima, 60 x 60 x 126 feet; ©Stephen Whisler, Stealth 1, 2019, Pastel on paper, 42 x 70 inches; Artist selfie, 2021. 

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ecoartspace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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Meet Rewilding Collagist Jennifer Gunlock – LA WEEKLY

meet an artist monday

Shana Nys Dambrot July 11, 2022

Jennifer Gunlock builds trees out of trees — well, pictures of trees. Her practice as a mixed media collagist enacts a mediated rewilding of compromised landscapes, chronicling and deconstructing the cyclical encroachment of human habitats on the arboreal realm and nature’s inevitable revenge. Captured at a moment of poise between architectural and ecological devastation and feral verdant comeback, Gunlock’s fractal, organic landscapes are constructed of studio materials as well as her own photographs of the world out there today — even as they envision a potentially survivable tomorrow. She is a recipient of this year’s Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, which is quite a big deal actually, and will now spend the next year creating the project.

Continue reading here

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ecoartapace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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Member Spotlight: Mags Harries

This week we recognize the important ecological work of Cambridge (MA,USA) artist Mags Harries.

In the 1950’s The Emerald Necklace, Fredrick Law Olmsted’s chain of parks following the Muddy River, was broken when Sears & Roebuck put a parking lot over one of its links. With that a portion of The Muddy River was put into a culvert. In the late 1980s, Mags Harries with students at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts carried reeds and buckets of water between the divided segments of the River. They filled the buckets at one end and emptied them in the other, metaphorically reconnecting the River (above). Many of her early temporary projects involved community participation and social action, including Winding Down the Charles, where community members helped to physically wind the length of the Charles River into a ball of string, and Speed of Light, for which she organized with her students a twenty-mile bicycle ride to bring attention to a planned transportation ‘Urban Ring’ around Boston. Click on images to get more information

Reclamation Artists (above), performed in the late 1980s through the 1990s, was a group of approximately 100 environmental artists, including Harries and many of her students. They were interested in producing site-specific art installations which included three at the Charles River Basin in the area of the Central Artery construction sites, one at the Fort Point Channel area behind South Station, and one at Boston’s City Hall Plaza.

As a group, Reclamation Artists (RA) were committed to working on important though little used or misused sites in Boston. Through temporary art installations they called attention to evocative artifacts, aspects of history and ecology, past and future city building that often escaped the attention of planners and designers. They explored big issues through personal perceptions. They looked closely at what they found at these sites to reclaim their stories, and deeper meanings. Through this process they hoped to affect the future of these places and the way we build our city.

The Bronx River Golden Ball was performed by Harries from 1999 to 2001, and is a universal, positive image that can be seen as the sun, the world, energy, life. Its ambiguity encourages people to invent stories about it and add their own mythology. The reoccurring, multimedia New York City public art event was designed to tie together the fractured experience of the Bronx River and the complex layers of people and artifacts that exist along the River. The Golden Ball is a metaphor and physical link to the River, calling for a greater sense of community. It also directs attention to its struggling ecology, asking people to reclaim the Bronx River. 

WaterWorks (2003) at Arizona Falls (above) is a well used public space, an art environment and a functioning hydro-power plant on the Arizona Canal in Phoenix designed by Mags Harries and her husband and public art partner, architect Lajo Heder. The site is focused on the water room and includes a power platform/dance floor; an outdoor classroom; pedestrian bridge; shade structures; seating; riparian terraces; and sustainable plantings, all designed by the artist led team. The site brings into focus the role of water in the history of Phoenix and in the future of green-energy, exploring water as both a utilitarian commodity and as a beautiful transformative substance. Surrounded by desert, the site is a lush environment full of water sensations. The project won the top environmental design award for the Phoenix area.

SunFlowers (2009), also designed by Harries and Heder is an Electric Garden including fifteen sculptural solar collectors that generate energy used for lighting at night. The 15 kilowatts of additional energy that they produce is fed into the Austin, Texas electrical grid for credit to fund the installation’s maintenance. During the day the SunFlowers provide a shaded grove for a pedestrian path and at night the LED’s in the flower stamens glows with blue light. The project is both an icon for the sustainable, LEED certified Mueller Development and a highly visible metaphor for the energy conscious City of Austin. Like real flowers, the SunFlowers transform sunlight into energy. 

Mags Harries was born in Wales, graduated from the Leicester College of Art and Design, received her MFA at Southern Illinois University, and is currently senior faculty at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  She is a multimedia artist who uses found objects, drawing, photography, performance, new technology, and 3D printing to fabricate visually alluring work. In 1990, Harries and her husband Lajos Héder, an architect and city planner, formed the Harries/Héder Collaborative. Together they activate public spaces that combine practical functions with strong metaphorical significance and bring communities together. Harries has exhibited at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and a retrospective of her work at the Decordova Museum, in Lincoln, MA. She has received a fellowship and residency from The Bogliasco Foundation in Genoa, Italy, and attended residencies at the Baer Art Center (Hofsos, Iceland), Civitella Ranieri (Italy), and The American Academy (Rome, Italy). Water and water-related issues have been and continue to be a primary theme both in Harries’s individual studio practice and in her public art collaborations. www.magsharries.com

Featured Images: ©Mags Harries, Re-Membering the River, student collaborations, circa 1980s; The Reclamation Artists (RA), Charles River, Near Longfellow Bridge, Boston, MA (late 1980’s – 90’s); The Bronx River Golden Ball, 1999-2001, New York; WaterWorks at Arizona Falls, 2003, Water Room framed by the aqueduct waterfalls, Photo: Salt River Project Archives; Sunflowers, Electric Garden, 2009, public art, Austin, Texas; below, Mags Harries with her most recent series titled Adrift, iceberg sculptures.

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ecoartspace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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Member Spotlight l Gloria Feman Orenstein

This week we recognize Gloria Feman Orenstein.

Orenstein is a feminist art critic, discoverer of the women of Surrealism, and a scholar of ecofeminism in the arts. Her book Reweaving the World (1990) is considered a seminal ecofeminist text which has played a crucial role in the development of U.S. ecofeminism as a political position. Essays include leading ecofeministscholars, poets, novelists, scientists, ecological activists, and spiritual teachers (Starhawk, Vananda Shiva), who envision a restoration of harmony in a global environment damaged by a devaluation of nature and women. Many of the essays were first presented at the conference “Ecofeminism: culture, nature and theory,” held at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, in March 1987. click image below

Reweaving the World, co-edited by Orenstein, posits an ecofeminist movement that brings together “the environmental, feminist, and women’s spirituality movements out of a shared concern for the well-being of the Earth and all forms of life that our Earth supports.” In the book, Orenstein described “’ecofeminist arts’ function [as] ceremonially to connect us with the two powerful worlds from which the Enlightenment severed us—nature and the spirit world.” She suggested such arts often invoked the symbol of the Great Mother (Goddess) to emphasize three levels of creation “imaged as female outside patriarchy: cosmic creation, procreation, and artistic creation.”

While a graduate student at New York University, Orenstein wrote her dissertation on Surrealism in France and Latin America after WWII.

“Someone suggested I write to Leonora, and we corresponded almost daily. Nothing had been written about her in the early 70’s so she sent me reproductions of her visual art. I was astounded by the beauty of her art and decided to include her in my dissertation. I would have to go to Mexico to speak with her in person, but had no money for travel. I decided to purchase a Mexican dress, hoping the vibes would enter my brain and enlighten me about the meaning of her cryptic, but absolutely incredible imagery. One day, just as I had asked the cosmos to send me an answer, the telephone rang and a most distinctive English accent spoke: “This is Leonora Carrington. I have just arrived in New York and I would like to meet you.”

“We met that night and remained dear friends for the rest of her life (Carrington died in 2011). In New York I took her to a meeting of OWL (Older Women’s Liberation) and we met with Betty Friedan, Jacqui Ceballos and Irma Diamond. Leonora wanted to start a branch of NOW in Mexico City. She was sailing for France in a few days and wanted me to go with her. Thanks to my brother I was able to make the trip by plane.”

“The time I spent with Leonora opened my eyes to the Celtic roots of her literary and artistic vision. I was able to spend six weeks as her guest in Mexico the following summer. It was a most extraordinary entrée to her world. She saw the traces of the ancestors at the archeological sites we visited. It was the dream trip of a lifetime.” click images above and below

In 1987, following the Ecofeminism conference, Orenstein was invited by a Shaman of Samiland (Lapland, N. Norway), Ellen Marit Gaup Dunfjeld, to be a student with her in Alta, Norway, an experience that continued intermittently for almost five years.

“The shaman was exquisitely beautiful in her native costume with jangling fringes. She began to sing a yoik, a chant that calls in the spirits of deceased ancestors. As she sang, we were literally transported to the ancient times of humanity’s origins. During this meeting the shaman informed me I had to make a trip to Samiland because “The Great Spirit has called you, Gloria and you have to come to meet the Great Spirit.”Orenstein then writes an essay “Toward an ecofeminist ethic of Shamanism and the sacred,” included in the book Ecofeminism and the Sacred, published in 1993. In 2022, she’s invited to participate in the virtual Meetings on Art for

the 59th Venice Biennale to explore the interconnections between Leonora Carrington and Sami Noaidis (shamans), proposing that Indigenous Sami epistemology might serve as a generative alternative to Western anthrocentrism. click image below

Gloria Feman Orenstein received a B.A. in Romance Languages and Literature from Brandeis University in 1959 and an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature from Radcliffe Graduate School of Harvard University in 1961. She studied in abroad in 1957 and 1958 completing courses at both the Sorbonne, University of Paris and Ecole du Louvre. Orenstein began her teaching career in 1963, when she accepted a position teaching High school French in Lexington, MA. She returned to New York University to continue her education, completing a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature in 1971. From 1975 to 1981 she was faculty of Rutgers University where she also served as the chair of the Women’s Studies Program from 1976 to 1978. She was hired as Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California in 1981 where she taught until she retired. She is a professor emerita of the University of Southern California. She received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Women’s Caucus for Art in February 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

Featured Images: All images are snapshots taken from the award-winning short film Gloria’s Call directed by Cheri Gaulke. 

Click image of Orenstein below to watch Gloria’s Call, which premiered in Los Angeles, October 2018. The film was born in 2016 during a presentation by Orenstein at the Southern California Women’s Caucus for Art (SCWCA), Surrealist Tea. (16:45 mins)

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ecoartspace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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Active Maps Between the Trees and Me: Katerie Gladdys Interview

By Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein

Katerie Gladdys is an alchemist of disciplines dedicated to promoting awareness of community and environmental impacts. Many of her topics are everyday objects with big histories like how your orange juice arrived on your table that morning and the circumstances that have resulted from its cultivation. But furthermore, she uses academic research to inform interactive data visualizations that are incredibly relatable like a jar of jam made from local fruit trees or through the promotion of edible weed gardens. I asked Gladdys about her depiction methods, process and how she sees the world.

Hi Katerie, so much of your work is intersectional; you bring together topics of both environment and social factors approaching fruit and local environment using both a research and creative lens. For example, in work like “Thy Neighbor’s Fruit” you gather unused fruits from neighboring trees and prepare them as jams while mapping the resources. How do you decide on how to depict your findings and integrate your community?

My art practice oscillates between local food systems and managed forests, often punctuated by investigations into the hyper local of my backyard and personal encounters with “nature.” Mapping is a methodology that allows me to vigilantly attend to the natural world at multiple and simultaneous scales. My mission and challenge as an artist to not just aestheticize data but to create meaningful visualizations connected to the data, but also to conversations about art.

For instance, in Thy Neighbor’s Fruit, ideas about mass production, overlooked resources and waste comingle with serialization, the multiple, color theory and even the idea of a mosaic. The installation has audio and/or video where the people who contributed the fruit for the jam discuss their relationship to their trees, food preservation and family stories about growing food. The jars of jam and the stories feel familiar even comforting, but the presentation and context perhaps invites further thought about gendered labor and food systems. One audience engagement that I find particularly gratifying with this piece was an elderly woman who surreptitiously picked up the jars to see if the jam had set. Or how the jam often enters exchange and gift economies as food post-exhibition. 

(Eccentric Grids: Mapping the Managed Forest: Enumeration and Density, small format video, custom electronics, sawdust, 2017-ongoing)

You mention mapping, which you often use as a way of articulating your research. And your presentations of what maps can be are varied and integrative. What work have you made that speak especially to the goal of “meaningful visualizations connected to the data?”

In Eccentric Grids: Mapping the Managed Forest: Enumeration and Density, I researched the tree density of managed commercial pine plantations harvesting for both pulp for paper products and board lumber with the natural spacing of the “trunk print” of old growth longleaf pine forests. I laid out the trunk prints of pulp, board and old growth trees in the scaled grids in which they are planted in a managed pine plantation or occur “naturally” in pre-settlement forests maintained by indigenous people. Each trunk print is a stencil of sawdust, an ephemeral by-product of chopping down a tree, that marks the trace of each tree. The audience is allowed to walk amongst the trunk prints and I often expect and plan for the piece to be obliterated during the time span of the exhibition. But often, most of the stencils remain intact suggesting much care and mindfulness of those walking through the visualization of the forest.

(Seed Cabinet, repurposed card catalog, custom electronics, video, and seeds, 28” x 18” x 38”, 2018-ongoing, https://vimeo.com/224731846 )

Wonderful. It is incredible how many elements you integrate into your process, and I wonder if this has to do with your academic research. For example, you often integrate your research into your artistic development like in the Agent Orangerie analysis of both consumer and production patterns in orange juice manufacturing and the resulting work, “Thy Neighbor’s Fruit”. In what ways does your academic work intersect and inform your artistic process?

I am very fortunate to teach at a land grant research institution. My research practice is very experiential yet informed by academic research. How people “do science” in an institutional setting becomes a space of play and potential critique. If one uses the metaphor of a recipe to think about scientific method and data, a research-based art practice uses the data and methods to redirect and comment upon the larger social context created by academic research. I am lucky to be able to go and have conversations with colleagues whose life’s work is thinking about food security or managed forests or to be able to go and look at seeds from endangered native plants growing in a lab. I get to see a lot of stuff and talk with interesting people.

(Seed Cabinet, repurposed card catalog, custom electronics, video, and seeds, 28” x 18” x 38”, 2018-ongoing, https://vimeo.com/224731846 )

What a unique and fruitful community you have found! No wonder this theme of community is very present in what you have exhibited. As both environmental research, presentation, and interactive design, many of your works engage the public through both awareness and activation (ex. Forest art collab, seed cabinet). What is your mission in creating this novel intersection and have audience members engaged after the initial viewing?

I endeavor to make art that awakens the curiosity in my viewers: transforming spectators into participants yearning to explore their surrounding environments. For example, in Seed Cabinet, opening each drawer of repurposed card catalog triggers the playing of videos and audio narratives that depict the community’s living intertwined relationships with these plants. Seed Cabinet collides the ordered worlds of science and libraries with the messiness of soil and plants, sowing the seeds for dialog. This piece invites the audience to engage with stories that describe personal and cultural relationships with the vegetal world told by those whose lives are profoundly intertwined with plants and agriculture. Seed Cabinet operates on multiple levels—sculptural object, performative installation, and participates in hands-on educational and community events, international conferences and symposiums. Interacting with both seeds and card catalogs is sensual and tactile, an active experience and a call to dialog and action to manifest further engagement with food systems in the form of learning about alternative food sources and cultivating gardens. 

(Seed Cabinet, repurposed card catalog, custom electronics, video, and seeds, 28” x 18” x 38”, 2018-ongoing, https://vimeo.com/224731846 )

Now you’re talking my language! I was particularly interest in your “Green Lining?” and “Sanctuary” work that take a strong stance in favor of “weeds” as gardens themselves, especially the edible ones! What would an ideal inhabited landscape look to you?

An ideal inhabited landscape is one that sustains a diversity of species including humans and recognizes the sentience of those other-than-humans. That being said I live in what used to be rural north central Florida, a rapidly changing landscape, where the timber forests and agricultural lands that succeeded pre-settlement long leaf pine ecosystems and coastal wetlands, vanish daily replaced at an alarming rate by homogeneous suburban sprawl. I have difficulty processing and literally finding my way in the midst of the weekly destruction of green space resulting from exponential development due to the increasing population of Florida and inland “development” perhaps expecting salinization and rising sea levels. I am left to focus on the ruderal ecologies of what persists and supplants what came before. Weeds are resilient, often invasive plants that may function as potential food sources in a changing climate. I am working on another iteration of Seed Cabinet that invites the audience to re-examine ubiquitous ecosystems as speculative nutrition in a warming world and to question the notion, “What is a weed?” Many “weeds” local to north central Florida are heritage vegetables in diaspora and indigenous communities and are connected to stories of survival and immigration. 

Thank you, Katerie, for a wonderful interview.

Katerie Gladdys is a transdisciplinary artist who thinks about place, marginalized landscapes, sustainability, mapping, consumption, food, agriculture, and disability. She creates installations, interactive, sculpture, video, and relational performances. She is currently an associate professor in Art and Technology in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Florida. Recent partners in collaboration include Working Food, a non-for-profit that educates people about sustainability and local food, University of Florida School of Forest Resource and Conservation, and the Gainesville community. Prior to joining the faculty at University of Florida, Gladdys was the multimedia education coordinator at University of Illinois at Springfield. She served as an educator at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art traveling to rural counties with the Artmobile teaching K-12 workshops as well as creating exhibition programming. She received her MFA in New Media from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA in Art and Design from the University of Chicago. She also has an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages with a specialization in pragmatics and discourse from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. layoftheland.net

(Top image: Thy Neighbor’s Fruit, shelves, jars of jam, audio and video, 2010- now, https://vimeo.com/51706961)

 

 

 

———-

ecoartspace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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Member Spotlight – Beth Ames Swartz

This week we recognize the work of artist Beth Ames Swartz.

Coming from a spiritual and artistic grounding rooted in an urban environment in New York, Swartz initially struggled with a feeling of displacement and disconnection when she moved to the desert environs of Arizona in 1959. Over the following decade, her art began to transition away from representation and into the realms of landscape abstraction. In 1970, during a rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, the artist was transformed by the enveloping experience. She states “The desert became my mentor. Exposed to nature’s abiding cycles, I felt the dignity and continuity of the earth and needed to translate my feelings visually.”  Pilgrimage and associated rituals using fire then became a prominent strategy in her art, leading to multi-year projects where the artist traveled to sacred sites in the Southwest and Europe, where she initiated on-site paintings on heavy scrolls of paper, incorporating soils from each location into the works.

In the late 1970’s, Swartz made smoke drawings and imagery or  “fire works,” which were a material transformation she developed from the application of destructive forces, mutilation and fire onto her work. Her series Transformations: Mica, Fabric & Lint (above), then led to a series Process/Ritual, forms that emerged from her large site works (below).

“The crux of all my art is life, death and rebirth, the cycles of life both in nature and life. Entropy is misunderstood once we realize that this constant reordering is always an opportunity to reframe the past into new awareness, reconciliation and eventual transformation.”

Green Sand Beach #8”, 1979,(above) was created with fire, sand, acrylic, variegated gold leaf and mixed-media on layered paper. While Swartz was an artist-in residence in Hawaii, she heard about and then visited the green sand beach and executed her fire-ritual at the site; ordering, disordering, reordering or life/ death/ rebirth; similar to the transformations that the earth goes thru after eruptions with the eventual rebirth.

“My art practice is a devotional activity, an intuitive journey and lifelong quest to transcend brokenness and create reconciliation, transformation and beauty. I focus on art’s potential for healing & unifying people, helping us to recognize the commonality of the human experience and our place in the cosmos.”

In 1980, Swartz traveled to Israel and visited ten historical sites as part of her series “Israel Revisited.” The series is a culmination of her exploration into the four elements and a reflection on influences of feminism, environmentalism and Jewish history. Each site was chosen for its connection to important female figures from the Bible. Red Sea #1 (above) honors Miriam, who, like her brother Moses, was considered a prophet and leader of the Israelites. Swartz painted and pierced the surface of a heavy rag paper, then covered it in soil and set it afire. She later reconstructed the tattered pieces in her studio, completing a personal cycle of life, death and rebirth.

In her series The Thirteenth Moon (below), Swartz was inspired by three revered eighth century Chinese poets: Du Fu, Li Bai and Wang Wei. Her mixed media paintings visualize their poems to reflect the richness of their respective world views: Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.

Beth Ames Swartz grew up in New York City where she studied at the Art Students League in the late 1940s while attending The High School of Music & Art. Following she attended Cornell University for undergraduate school and New York University where she received her Masters. In 1959, at age twenty-three, she moved with her first husband to Phoenix, Arizona. There she was introduced to Action Painting, a spontaneous application of paint to the canvas, which she combined with her feminist interests to make expressions of her relationship with the Earth. She received the Arizona Governor’s Individual Artist Award in 2001 and was the subject of a Phoenix Art Museum retrospective and major monograph in 2002. The Veteran Feminists of America honored Beth in 2003 for her contribution to the arts nationally. Swartz’s work is in the public collections of National Museum of American Art (Smithsonian Institution), Jewish Museum, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Phoenix Art Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Albuquerque Museum and many corporate and private collections. Her new website, coming soon! www.bethamesswartz.com

Featured Images: Above, ©Beth Ames Swartz, painting at the Red Sea, Israel, April 17, 1980; Transformations: Mica, Fabric & Lint Series, 1977, mixed media on paper, approximately 23 x 33 inches; Green Sand Beach #8, 1979, fire, sand, acrylic, variegated gold leaf, mixed-media on layered paper, 34 x 54 inches; The Red Sea #1 (Israel Revisited, Ten Sites),” 1980, Collection of Diane and Gary Tooker, included in the exhibition “Counter-Landscapes: Performative Actions from the 1970s – Now,” 2020, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona; Du Fu: A lonely moon turns among the waves (A line of cranes in flight is silent; A pack of wolves baying over their prey breaks the quiet; I cannot sleep because I am concerned about wars; Because I am powerless to amend the world), 2012, acrylic and paste on canvas, approximately 36 x 48 inches.

Watch the New Art of the American West film segment on Beth Ames Swartz from 1979:

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ecoartspace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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Substance of Venom – Cherie Sampson

Submitted by the artist

Substance of Venom by Cherie Sampson is included in the exhibition The Quality of Being Fleeting at 826 Currents gallery in Santa Fe through September 11, 2022.

Description:

The gardens, prairies, orchard, woodlands in the home environment where the artist, Cherie Sampson lives set the mise-en-scène for a series of self-administered honeybee “stinging rituals” over a period of several months in 2021. A team of Australian researchers recently discovered that the active substance in honeybee venom, melittin, has demonstrated a capacity to induce cell death in two types of aggressive breast cancers: triple-negative and HER2.* As a survivor of TNBC, Sampson engaged this symbolic act, calling attention to the need for more natural or other forms of cancer therapy that may one day offer alternatives to toxic and often ineffectual treatments – some that have not changed for decades. Footage of the foraging patterns of honeybees and other native pollinators of the Midwest that illustrate the diverse life in healthy ecosystems are juxtaposed with images of the stinging rites. (In the video installation, the imagery is projected onto silk scrims that hang in a sculptural installation constructed of applewood from the organic orchard in NE Missouri, USA, operated by Sampson’s husband, Dan Kelly.)

Credits: Camera: Cherie Sampson & Radim Schreiber Musical elements: Charles Gran All other audio + video production & post-production: Cherie Sampson

Voice-Over for 9-minute Substance of Venom video

(May-June 2022)

“Honeybee venom and melittin suppress growth factor receptor activation in HER2-enriched and triple-negative breast cancer.”  NPJ – Nature Partner Journals. *

I will help you to feel magically better…
The placebo said to me.
As your escort, it is my duty and pleasure.

I shall please.
I   shall   please.
I      shall      please…

“Despite decades of study, the molecular mechanisms and selectivity of the biomolecular components of honeybee (Apis mellifera) venom as anticancer agents remain largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that honeybee venom and its major component melittin potently induce cell death, particularly in the aggressive triple-negative and HER2-enriched breast cancer subtypes…”

I      shall      please…
I          shall          please…

“Our work unveils a molecular mechanism underpinning the anticancer selectivity of melittin, and outlines treatment strategies to target aggressive breast cancers…”

I        shall        please.


April 22: The first sting in the orchard.
Caught a couple honeybees that got away and was stung on my hand while trying.
Administered on left forearm so I could hold her with the insect tweezers with my right hand.

All night I felt and dreamt of the pain and initiation of melittin.

{music & sound effects}

“The European honeybee (Apis mellifera) has been the source of a number of products used medicinally by humans, such as honey, propolis, and venom for thousands of years1. However, the molecular determinants of the anticancer activity of bee venom remain poorly understood, particularly in breast cancer…”

June 6: Keep eyes on mustards, white and yellow clover, milkweed, holly hock…the milkweed still not quite in bloom. And the growing ashy sunflower in the field. Milkweed and sunflower emerging from the ash of a controlled burn.

{sounds of buzzing bees, fire crackling…}

Got a bee from the asparagus for the second sting. I placed her on the upper left chest – above the former tumor. She spun round and round before finally releasing the venom sac.

Afterward, she rested on my body for a long time, preening, preparing to die.
My chest rose and fell with breath. Life.

{music}

Observing the girls in the white clover now.
Also saw a beautiful swallow tail butterfly there.

Arranged to do the sting in the evening with deep golden light.
Very shallow depth of field.

She escaped…

{high-pitched sound effect}

June 23: Saw the first bee in the milkweed today – some are staring to bloom!
Others are still in tight clusters.

July second. Incredible diversity of pollinators in the milkweed, including bumblebees and a gorgeous hummingbird moth. Many honeybees were active. I was able to track a single bee for a long time because there is so much to gather on a single flowerhead.

Observed many pollinators in the vivid butterfly milkweed on “goddess hill.”
Also, a monarch caterpillar.

Did two stings on my right shoulder – where I have had some unexplainable pain over the past few months. The first one did not go deep. In the second sting, the venom sack still administered venom even after the bee detached.

Or so I think.

{sound effects from slow-motion video, summer insects}

July 26: Many pollinators in the Cup Plants now, including honeybees and the jeweled metallic green sweat bees.

The clover is drying up but managed to capture one there into a little jam jar.

Administered the sting in the upper right breast. Not too intense and the venom sac did not released into my flesh.

August 22: Abundant pollinators in the blooming chives right outside the back door. Not since the cup plants in July have I seen so many honeybees in one place!
They move quickly there as the flowers are so tiny.

Keeping my eyes on the zinnias…are the girls interested?

Stings become less severe as the season progresses.

As your escort, it is my duty and pleasure…

To kill any rogue TNBC cells that may be wandering around in my bloodstream?

August 24.
Dan has observed that the bees are now in the upper garden in the cover crop Milpa field with buckwheat, sunflower, brassicas, squashes…

Mil-pa
translates as –
cultivated field.

One in every three bites of food comes from pollination by honeybees.

Caught a bee in the chives for later sting.

September 2: Did four stings today. The first time with so many in one day. Arms and upper back. On the shoulder.

{abstract music & insect sounds}

Pollinators are really busy in the milpa field.
Goldenrods are just starting to open…

The honeybees stay for many minutes on a single sunflower head…

Continuing to watch milpa field, sunflowers, cucumbers, zinnias, ash sunflower.

…gathering bright pollen.

Continuing to watch milpa field, sunflowers, cucumbers, zinnias, ash sunflower.
Continuing to watch milpa field, sunflowers, cucumbers, zinnias, ash sunflower.

Been seeing a lot of pollinators in the zinnias on sunny mid-days. Things are getting sparse, and our zinnia garden may be one of the last foraging places. They are also in the sprouting broccoli flowers in the garden.
Continuing to watch milpa field, sunflowers, cucumbers, zinnias, ash sunflower.

Been watching the asters for weeks looking for the apis mellifera and never see them.
Finally saw a couple today there about 12:30 PM.

November 8: Just did a sting on my left foot. This very well may the last sting from a captured bee outdoors this season.

It is getting rather cold in coming days…

Honeybees forage in the last phase of their life.
Their time of death is impending but hastened by my capture.

Provocation.

Am I entirely comfortable with my role in her ever-so-slightly?
Earlier death?

Thank you.
 
Thank you, honey. Honeybee.

Your substance of venom.
Placebo?

Golden one. Giver of life,
beauty,
food,
intoxication.

Medicine.

{musical outro}

*All quotes about melittin research and TNBC:
Duffy, C., Sorolla, A., Wang, E. et al. Honeybee venom and melittin suppress growth factor receptor activation in HER2-enriched and triple-negative breast cancer. npj Precis. Onc. 4, 24 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41698-020-00129-0

(Top photo: Substance of Venom (2021-22) 4K single channel video. 9:34 (presented in a video installation constructed of applewood and silk above) Photo by: Lisa Wigoda)

———-

ecoartspace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

Powered by WPeMatico

Bay Area Eco Artists: Where Art Meets Nature by Leora Lutz

By Leora Lutz

This past spring has been a busy time for several ecoartspace members who live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through intimate interactions with the land and with each other, they are making poignant and pivotal statements to help further the dialog about ecological trauma.

Alicia Escott was one of four artists selected from over 130 applicants for the Annual Artists Life Cycle juried exhibition titled “This Land: Art/Act Local,” now on view at the David Brower Center in Berkeley. The prompt for the exhibition is “What does it mean to be connected to the land that holds us and life on this planet, along with the imperative to protect it?” Her work is serious and poetic, but within that dynamic is a sense of gentle levity, a light acknowledgement of the magnitude and absurdity of humans’ relationships with objects, waste and living things.

The artist’s contribution to the show titled “Various Metabolic Rifts and Domestic Interiors: An ongoing series of collaborations with wildflower seeds” includes several “living sculptures,” eight videos, and photographs. Her work with seeds, compost, Oak Ecologies and Victorian Gold Rush architecture among other things “are always ways of getting back to the core issues of recognizing interconnectivity, that what the earth wants is so often what we want (that we need to stop fighting ourselves), and creating spaces to sit with the grief of living within mass extinction and climate crisis….”

Escott’s sculptures are comprised of post-industrial/pre-consumer waste plastic bags that are full of dirt with flora sprouting through their “heads.” They lean against walls with a sense of personhood, slumped and drunk on life. In one video, brown water seeps from the tied end of a bag, as if it’s oozing its waste onto the floor. She acknowledges that there’s a fecal innuendo with these bags, yet, from this compost shoots beauty in delicate wild flowers and willowy grasses. The plants reach for light, and bloom when ready. They persevere.

Alongside these compact slow growing life forms are accompanying videos that document a person’s interaction with the plants. A woman’s arm is in frame, slowly touching a soft tan grassy frond; a tender green branch; or a bright pink gentle bloom. As the arm moves away, the plant bends in response, as if to return the gesture, or to beckon for more.

Escott also participated in a collaborative project with Bay Area-based Fog Fire Collective, alongside Jillian Crochet, Angela Willetts, Tanja Geis and Minoosh Zomorodinia. They presented a striking, monumental installation titled “Scrub Index” at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco for this year’s Bioneers Conference in May. The work featured multiple 40 foot scrolls of muslin suspended from the ceiling. A labor of love. The muslin was weighted by jagged oceanic rocks from the immediate area, which the artists returned to their place of origin after the installation. Videos of hands kneading and “washing” the fabric were projected onto the fabric surfaces.


Created onsite in the ocean-shored areas adjacent to the Palace, the muslin was naturally dyed by rubbings of the Palace, mud rubbings of a sea wall nearby, and in the shallow areas where green algae, and soft beige and gray sand linger. The fabric absorbs the land’s colors and textures, inverting the act of washing by “dirtying” to signify different ecologies of the area. The piece is inspired by a lake in the area that was once home to the “Washerwoman’s Lagoon”—a place during the Gold Rush for people to come and collectively wash their clothes, eat lunch, and gather while the clothes dried, draped on nearby chaparral.  You can see a video of their process on their Instagram site, here

Iranian-born Minoosh Zomorodinia also recently curated an ambitious group show titled “Between Lands” at Southern Exposure in the Mission District, which includes Iranian artists from the US and Iran. The exhibition featured several video works, inviting viewers to spend quality time with each piece, watching and listening. Much of the content was generated on the other side of the world, which further illuminated the point that ecological issues are global as well as local. The works invited visitors to “consider our attachments and anxieties in relationship with land and home when there is loss caused by war, fire, displacement, or other disaster,” stated Zomorodinia.

Through cinematography, collage, performance or mapping, the artists highlight the damage and demise of the landscape at the hands of humans. There was also an afternoon of tea and snacks held outside the gallery on the busy sidewalk, made from herbs and plants that can help curb the effects of air pollution caused by wildfire smoke. The problems caused by humans that damage land, erase history, or provoke health issues commonly stem from the need for territory or the ego’s need for power—desperation to live at the expense of our precious resources.

Yet there’s also a glimmer of hope as people endure and persist, whether through song, storytelling, sharing a moment with a cup of tea…or making art like the members of ecoartspace.

———-

ecoartspace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

Powered by WPeMatico