The ecoartspace blog will feature artist profiles and reviews of exhibitions, as well as writings on ecological systems. We are interested in presenting work that artists are making in collaboration with scientists, and poetics including spoken word, opera, and performative work. Painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, drawing, and printmaking are all welcome media. Speculative architecture and public art are also encourage. Submissions for posts can be sent to info@ecoartspace.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

You can access the previous ecoartspace blog HERE (2008-2019)

ecoartspace, LLC

Mailing address: PO Box 5211 Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502
  • 15 Feb 2020 12:01 | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Interior view of Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico

    Signals of Nowadays on view at the Museo de Arte Puerto Rico is a striking reminder of how environmental art is deeply rooted in the social as well as the ecological. Included in the exhibition are three Puerto Rican artists who inhabit the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and who have been dramatically affected by environmental devastation on multiple fronts—through "current social, economic and ecological deterioration," states curator Juan Carlos Lopez Quintero. Today, island residents share stories over mofongo about where they were last month when the earthquakes seemed to hit each week. While nearby in an incredible four story building with marble floors and stained glass windows, and an awe-striking sculpture garden, artists Coco Valencia, Abdiel Segarra and Vanessa Rivera were invited last fall to reflect on the effects of the global environmental crisis. 


    Simulacro by Coco Valencia

    Facing the viewer at the back quarter of the gallery is a collection of seemingly identical dark shapes, like a swarm of large insects hung from dark strings. These shapes create clusters surrounding a largely empty center, as if they were collectively circling a prey. This is the work of Coco Valencia entitled Simulacro that confronts the viewer with a series of derogatory phrases such as Puerca (female pig), Pata (paw), and Latrine (toilet), that are shot out of the mouths of gun-shaped skulls like flares. The skulls and flares are painted in black on cardboard and the words are fueled by fire in bright reds, oranges and yellows. This work reflects on the fiery spirits that brought a corrupt governor to his knees last summer. It is discrimination that often keeps those who are in need, in the position of submission. Simulacro speaks loudly and in combat with those systems of oppression. A stark reminder that the ecological crisis is a result of socially dysfunctional human-made systems, which have left many Puerto Ricans without aid in the face of environmental devastation. 


    things about that unbreakable (and unstoppable) consumption pattern by Abdiel Segarra

    In an eerie confrontation of consumer habits: on the left hand wall of the exhibition is a series of pieces entitled “things about that unbreakable (and unstoppable) consumption pattern” by Abdiel Segarra. The viewer finds a colorful array of geometric forms that reveal, upon closer inspection, that these are color-categorized materials that range from receipts to newsprint, to Adidas labels, or "material destined to be discarded," states curator Quintero. There are undertones of constructivist and minimalist forms in this work that play against each other in an array of carefully organized consumer materials. A subtle pair of triangles together in a diamond shape have tones of grey and faded red from the receipts that they are made up of. Their organized forms reveal this perpetuating pattern of consumption that underlies the habitualized social elements of the environmental waste crisis.

    detail by Abdiel Segarra

    The most literal ecological work in the exhibition is that of internationally recognized mosaic artist, Vanessa Rivera. Rivera presents an installation of four hanging orbs, oracle like with dangling tentacles of cloth, including a mosaic and textile backdrop that presents a glowing blue entrance way. It's simultaneously glistening, yet rugged, reflecting the surrounding area of the museum where new buildings are met with deterioration from environmental damage. The work resonates with the theme of groundwater, both as a lifeforce and a resource. The figures and mosaic doorway bring to question the crackled future, the elegance of the past, and the deteriorating present. In the meanwhile, people on the island are still struggling to find clean water to drink, and are told there will be more earthquakes to come over the next year or more. The new normal for the strong spirited Puerto Ricans, despite the damage in the end.  


    Acuifero III by Vanessa Rivera

    The exhibition closes February 16, 2020.

    Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein is a Cambridge, MA based artist/writer and ecoartspace member who recently made a visit to Puerto Rico.

  • 3 Feb 2020 09:29 | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Terry Tempest Williams, photographed by Joshua Abbey

    "What I want you to know is that this land matters to me," Terry Tempest Williams began to a packed auditorium on January 24 at the Historic Fifth Street School, open to the general public. She recounted how her early activism started in Las Vegas against the Nevada Test Site (NTS). At one point, she was protesting at the test site and was detained. An officer frisked her and removed her pen and notebook from her boot, asking what they were. "Weapons," Terry replied. At that moment, she became a writer.

    "Story is the umbilical cord between the past, present, and future." Terry Tempest Williams
     
    Today, Terry is an advocate for conservation issues across our national landscape with special emphasis on the desert southwest, which she calls home. She has written articles for a variety of publications, including the New York Times, Orion, and the Los Angeles Times. Her latest book, Erosion, published in October of 2019, encompasses her love and appreciation for public lands as well as her spiritual tie to land and family. She's currently at the Harvard Divinity School as a Writer-in-Residence.

    Joshua Abbey, son of Edward Abbey

    It's been 20 years since Terry Tempest Williams visited Las Vegas. Joshua Abbey, the son of environmental writer and activist Edward Abbey, asked her to come and speak as part of the conservation events of the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival. "This is Terry's first-ever speaking engagement in Las Vegas. We never needed her words of wisdom, more than now" stated Abbey.

    Williams read from her latest book, Erosion, with a Q&A session following with fellow author Téa Obreht. She began by discussing the reduction of Utah's Bear's Ears National Monument by 85% in 2017, and the impact that its had on the local Native American tribes. She then answered questions from the audience. A fourteen-year-old asked her, "what can young people do to have a voice?" and Williams responded "It's really important that we have an intergenerational conversation, that we listen to the fourteen-year-olds and that we can be there to support them in what they're doing. I also think that they're equipped to handle this moment. I see the young people that I'm working with as pragmatic visionaries. They're not sentimental, they're not soft. They haven't been spared idealism. They see what's happening and I have tremendous faith in them."

    Terry Tempest Williams in conversation with Téa Obreht

    The next evening at the Adelson Educational Campus, Williams moderated the screening of the film Wrenched, which documents the Earth First Movement. When talking about the film, Williams said "It's more than direct action. It's looking at our gifts. It's a metaphor for what each of us has to offer in this open space of democracy." She suggests we examine how will we use our gifts to create change.

    After the film, Williams discussed her decision to purchase oil and gas leases near her Utah home in protest, with no intention of exercising them. This action would later cost her job, and the leases to be revoked. She's appealing that decision, which is currently under federal review. When asked if she could turn back time, would she do it again, knowing she would lose her job and the leases? She said without hesitation, "Yes."



    Paula Jacoby-Garrett is a freelance writer in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  • 1 Feb 2020 02:20 | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    The ecoartspace February 2020 e-Newsletter is now LIVE HERE.

  • 31 Jan 2020 19:11 | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Mariah Reading, Adidas Sunset, 2018, recycled shoe, acrylic paint, digital photograph

    You have brains in your head.
    You have feet in your shoes.
    You can steer yourself
    In any direction you choose.
    Dr. Seuss

    Shoes are a necessity. We need them to go about our daily routine. Shoes enable us to explore the very landscapes we strive to preserve. Yet, they're one of the most problematic sources of consumer waste in the world. 

    Creating a single pair of running shoes generates 30 pounds of carbon dioxide. The 25 billion shoes manufactured around the world every year generate a huge greenhouse gas impact. At the end of a shoe’s life, it's discarded, and spends over 50 years decomposing in a landfill where it will contaminate the water and soil. The midsole of a running shoe, made of ethylene vinyl acetate, takes a whopping 1,000 years to decompose.

    While an increasing number of shoe companies are steering their shoe production in a more sustainable direction, there's still a long way to go. Today there is an endless source of shoe waste available to artists to make art from. 

    “The one advantage of working with waste material is – it’s everywhere.”  Meghan Price

    Meghan Price is a Toronto-based multi-media artist drawn to the significance of process and materials. Meghan works with textiles, print and video, exploring time and what she refers to as human-earth interactions. In her latest series utilizing recycled athletic shoes, she sheds powerful insight into the relationship between waste, and humanity’s place in geological time through stunning low-relief landscape sculptures.

    Meghan Price, New Balance 1, 2017, recycled shoes, 15 x 37 x 2 inches

    Meghan’s New Balance series evokes layers of the Earth’s crust using an arts-informed inquiry into geology and the seismic impact of human consumption on our planet. “This work specifically references the Earth’s uppermost layers as they are embedded with environmental pollutants including textile materials and residues from their manufacturing,” describes Meghan. 

    Meghan Price, New Balance 2, 2017, recycled shoes, 14 x 3 x 2 inches

    Landscape painter Mariah Reading was inspired to change her artistic process after reflecting on the waste produced by painting the very landscapes she loved. “As artists, we throw away a lot of waste,” notes Mariah, who is also an avid outdoorswoman. She works to minimize her carbon footprint, and turns her eye to the waste left by humans in nature. When hiking, she picks up trash and paints landscapes on it. Mariah then photographs the object aligned with the physical landscape to both obscure and highlighting the discarded object. 

    Single shoes are among the most commonly found waste objects that Mariah finds. “I really enjoy painting shoes because I contemplate who lived in those shoes, and the carbon footprint made by that person in their shoes,” shares Mariah. “The shoe had a life of its own before – and now again, after being discarded.”

    Mariah Reading, Devils Boot, 2018, recycled steel-toed boot, acrylic paint, digital photograph

    Meghan and Mariah give shoe waste a new life, inspiring the rest of us to walk in a more sustainable direction.

    Meghan Price is represented by United Contemporary Gallery in Toronto.   

    Mariah Reading's work can be purchased directly through her website.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Natasha Milijasevic is a Toronto and Miami-based consultant, writer and researcher. Her past research and publications span organizational psychology to patient safety to business strategy. She's the mother of two, and an occasionally exhibiting artist.

  • 11 Jan 2020 14:48 | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Haynes Inlet Portal on the Coos Bay, Oregon. Finished in October 2019, at low tide dawn.  Photo: David Paul Bayles

    Located along a surveyed route for the proposed Pacific Connector Pipeline, which is planned for moving fracked gas from Canada to the US Pacific Coast for export to Asia, stands three pavilions, or portals, created by environmental architect Erin Moore, from Eugene, Oregon, along with her research practice team known as FLOAT. Completed last fall 2019, these installations were sited in the landscape as a direct action in resistance to the proposed pipeline, as well as a way to provide multi-species sheltering. The works combine speculative design and habitat architecture, along with activism and ecological aesthetics.

    All three portals were constructed on private land owned by community members who are vehemently against the expropriation of their land. Each site is ecologically rich including an estuary, a wetland, and a riparian zone. One of the landowners was arrested for trespassing at the Oregon State Capitol in November where protesters staged a sit-in, not something she had ever done before [more HERE]. The pipeline, if built, will run right through a completed salmon restoration on a creek adjacent to and in including her pasture. Another landowner who will lose his property due to eminent domain is the subject of a video interview online sharing the path the pipeline with take through his family land.


    Haynes Inlet Portal. Photo: David Paul Bayles

    “The portals visibly place something of value in the path of potential destruction,” states FLOAT. These structures also serve as a metaphor, a circular form that presents an alternative to carrying oil, offering a transformative space for both animals and humans to contemplate the fate of lands that will potentially be abused in the name of progress. Locally harvested soft rush (Juncus effuses) and tule (Schoenoplectus acutus) is thatched around the exterior of the portals, filtering rainwater and collecting moisture and nutrients that are helpful for hosting non human species.

    Salmon Portal on Fate Creek, Oregon. This portal sits in the riparian zone along a restored salmon spawning bed.


    From FLOAT:

    The Portals are intended to transform perceptions of these places by demonstrating their value in terms of ecological holism, nutrient cycling, multi-species sheltering, and habitat biodiversity rather than in terms of extraction and profit. In this way, and as they subvert extraction-based power structures.

    The Portals are intended to choreograph the human experience of time as cyclical—in weather, tides, water levels, and planetary movement, and as material decays and accumulates. In this way, the pavilions draw attention to the simultaneous ecological past and future of these lands.

    The Portals are located on land that is within the traditional homelands of the Coos, Coquille and Upper Umpqua peoples who were forcibly removed from these lands by the United States government. Today, descendants are citizens of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw Indians, the Coquille Indian Tribe, and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe.

    The Portals were designed by Erin E. Moore and were constructed by members of Moore’s research practice FLOAT (Construction project management: Chris White; Fabrication and installation: Mike Kwilos (lead), Serena Lim, Andrew Loia, Zach Bradby, Molly Winter).

    The Portals are located in Southern Oregon. Each are about 2 hours by car from the Eugene, Oregon airport. Hosted site visits are welcome with prior arrangement. 

    Portal in Coquille River Watershed on a wetland site. The middle of three along the route of the proposed Pacific Connector Pipeline.  Photo: FLOAT

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software