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
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  • Monday, August 15, 2022 9:18 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

    August 15, 2022

    This week we recognize Catherine Chalmers and her twenty plus year career collaborating with nature.

    "I refer to myself as an artist. But, perhaps it’s more accurate to say I’m part of an art collective. I never work alone. My colleagues just don’t happen to be human. Early on I raised my collaborators in the studio, fed them, housed them. The dialogue was between me and the cockroach, me and the praying mantis. But, with the Leafcutters project, the exchange is between me and millions of wild ants."

    "My work is at the intersection of art, science and nature.  I do extensive research for each of my long-term, multimedia projects and a direct engagement with the natural world is central to my what I do. My work aims to give form to the richness, as well as the brutality and indifference that often characterize our relationship with animals."

    "I use the narrative possibilities of the visual arts to bridge the increasing rift between humanity and the ecosystem and to creatively engage with the systems that support life on earth.  Our culture is far richer with the inclusion of other life forms."

    "I’ve worked with a variety of media, from engineering to painting, photography, video, sculpture and drawing, yet my artistic career has been focused on one central issue, how to confront and challenge our anthropocentric point of view.  Humanity has been drawing lines in the sand forever, defining what is in and what is out, maybe now, at the dawn of the Anthropocene, is a good time to reconsider those lines and what lives on the other side."

    For her upcoming exhibition We Rule (below), opening at the Drawing Center in New York, October 2022, Chalmers will create a site-specific drawing installation in the lower-level gallery and corridor that depicts the underground labyrinth of an ant colony. The installation is inspired by the artist's observation of, and engagement with more than one dozen colonies of Leafcutter Ants on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. Over a ten-year period, Chalmers returned annually to the same spot, filming, photographing, and tracking the fate of these colonies. Leafcutter Ants are a metaphor for humanity’s life on earth: they farm, communicate, and collaborate; they also colonize, battle, and destroy.

    Catherine Chalmers   holds a B.S. in Engineering from Stanford University and an M.F.A. in Painting from the Royal College of Art in London. She has exhibited her artwork around the world, including MoMA P.S.1; MASSMoCA; Kunsthalle Vienna; Today Art Museum, Beijing; among others. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, Washington PostArtNews and Artforum. Chalmers has been featured on PBS, CNN, NPR, and the BBC. Two books have been published on her work: FOOD CHAIN (Aperture 2000) and AMERICAN COCKROACH (Aperture 2004). Her video “Safari” received a Jury Award (Best Experimental Short) at SXSW Film Festival in 2008. In 2010 Chalmers received a Guggenheim Fellowship and in 2015 she was awarded a Rauschenberg Residency. In 2018, she created a course called Art & Environmental Engagement, which she taught that spring quarter at Stanford University. Her video “Leafcutters” won Best Environmental Short at the 2018 Natourale Film Festival in Wiesbaden, Germany and in 2019, won the Gil Omenn Art & Science Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. She lives in New York City. catherinechalmers.com


    Featured Images: ©Catherine Chalmers, TREE, Northeastern Cherry, 2008, 11 feet tall, Boise Art Museum; Food Chain Series (praying mantis); Food Chain, 2000, installation at MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; Idols and Offerings Series: PORTRAIT, pigment print, 30 x 45 inches; Leaf Cutter Ant drawings, 2022, pen and ink on paper; the artist with E.O. Wilson, 2012 (below).

  • Monday, August 08, 2022 9:24 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

    August 8, 2022

    This week we recognize Blue McRight and  Blue McRighher dedication to the elimination of plastic pollution and the protection of our oceans.

    "My world of artmaking is deeply immersive. I cross the wires of intention and chance to see what will happen, and the resulting shock rings me like a bell. I am struck, hollowed out, reverberating, transfixed until interrupted by dinner or some other distraction, whereupon my reaction is and always will be “five more minutes.” I am dedicated to creating a visual, metaphoric language about water and the ocean, synthesizing years of witnessing the undersea wilderness as a scuba diver. In ways that are provocative, but more poetic than didactic, my work engages with major environmental issues including drought, sea level rise and ocean plastic pollution."

    "The organic processes of life behaviors, gender fluidity, reproduction, and death in marine creatures and their environments inspire me. These processes are timeless, unsentimental; outside of humans’ shifting cultural and political values. They continue with or without us. I trust their beauty, their indifference, their violence and integrity."

    "Like an octopus, each of my arms has its own brain. The thoughts in my hands guide me: knotting and tying, cutting, sewing, and binding, I make each sculpture in cycles of repetition and improvisation. I utilize fishing nets, fish and crab traps, and bait baskets; though porous, they carry the weight of phantoms. They speak to life, death, struggle, capture, escape, despair, longing, and elation. They enable my formal and narrative exploration of transparency, weight and weightlessness, color, texture, and volume."

    "My mind is in the gutter; constantly looking for plastic straws and lids in the street and on the beach. Along highways and at gas stations, I gather fallen urban fruit from the filthy orchard of our consumer culture. I insist that plastic trash such as salvaged nets, rope, straws, lids and other objects can be beautiful as material for artwork, forcing us to confront the possibilities of what we thoughtlessly discard, giving agency to the rejected as it assumes space in the realm of cultural dialogue, alluding to what is overlooked and wasted."

    "The ultimate meaning of my work resides in engaging viewers while remaining elusive, in making personal and poetic connections to the conflict between nature and a culture of consumption. It speaks to our present era of the Anthropocene. It makes no predictions as to its outcome." Click image above for video interview

    Blue McRight's      work explores the psychological and cultural terrain between nature, personal experience, and politics. She creates works that include found objects such as vintage nozzles and sprinklers, rubber hoses, faucets, and used books as well as natural ephemera such as trees and tree branches. The objects undergo transformative operations that abstract them while enhancing their realist core. McRight studied at the Rhode Island School of Design from 1974 to 1975 and the Evergreen State College from 1977 to 1979. She began exhibiting in the early 1980s and has been included in numerous group shows including at the Delaware Art Museum, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the Santa Monica Museum of Art. The artist has received public sculpture commissions from the City of Ventura, Culver City, Los Angeles, San Buenaventura and San Diego, all in the state of California.  McRight has received grants from the Santa Fe Arts Council, and her work is included in the public collections of Sun America in New York, the Port of Portland in Oregon, Chemical Bank in New York, the Delaware Art Museum, Mountain Bell in Colorado, the New Mexico Museum of Art, and the Palm Springs Arts Museum. She lives and works in Venice, California.  bluemcright.com


    Featured Images: ©Blue McRight, The Invisible Obvious, 2021, studio installation, mixed media, dimensions variable; Antigone/Drink Me: Siren, 2014, mixed media, 60 x 111 inches; Quench: Well Wisher, 2012, mixed media, 50 x 43 x 29 inches; Fathom, 2020, installation including salvaged ocean plastics, lids, nets, rope and objects, dimensions variable; Font, 2016, used books, rubber hoses, vintage brass faucets and sprinklers, wood and metal, installation for COLA Individual Artist Fellowship exhibition, 9 x 12 x 15 feet; Still image of artist taken from COLA video interview 2016 (below). 

  • Friday, August 05, 2022 12:24 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

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

     

    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 manifesto à 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


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  • Monday, August 01, 2022 8:18 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

    August 1, 2022

    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 treesthey grow along with us marking our lives. Perhaps there has been a favorite tree in your lifeone 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 muchshelter, 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 into some 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 of videos, 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 themstarving themor 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 can overcome 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).

  • Monday, August 01, 2022 8:08 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

     The ecoartspace August 2022 e-Newsletter is here

  • Saturday, July 30, 2022 8:40 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    Eternal Forest

    Editorial for The Empty Square (written January 2022)

    “Learning to live like a forest, to operate like a forest, running on reciprocity, on mutuality, could perhaps be a proposition for a healthier society, one that considers the well-being of other species well as important as its own. I am asking myself can we really learn this? Forest is telling me that she can teach us: she is a great book we can read if we can connect the patterns in our minds.” Evgenia Emets.

    By Evgenia Emets, artist and founder of Eternal Forest


    What if we lived in Forest Time?

    What if our society was organised like a forest?

    What if our relationship with forests was based on reciprocity, respect and long-term vision?

    What if forests became sacred places for us, once again?

     

    These are the questions I have been asking myself since I was called to manifest the project I call ‘Eternal Forest’.

    In 2018,  when I moved from London to Portugal, I became interested in the relationship humans have with forests and started to explore it through art, poetry and film. Now, after four years of learning and listening deeply to forests and people, I am convinced that the forest is calling us to review our relationship. We need to revise our values, rethink our priorities, revitalise our creativity, intuition and spirit. We need to reconnect to the sacred cycles of nature, build a relationship with nature as equals.

    Today, as I tune into deep interconnectedness, I see the hope of a society operating like a forest: together, in a mutually beneficial and collaborative way. The transition to such a society requires a shift on personal, community and societal levels. What is needed is not only a rethinking of our modes of seeing and our behaviours but also a re-imagining of the actual core of our being in relation to the whole ecosystem, the other-than-human. This also demands a shift in our understanding of time, our highly controlled, linear, short-term vision of time, towards an expanded perspective, one that embraces a non-linear, multiplicity-of-cycles, long-term view of a more natural time, Forest Time.

    There is not a single day that passes without news of the destruction of another bit of old-growth forest. For paper, for wood, for soya and corn production, for mining, for real-estate development - the list of reasons for this erasure is never-ending. To me, it is like destroying an incredibly intricate complex masterpiece, an artwork of Time. Rivers are disappearing, soils are being washed away by torrential rains and are being dispersed by the ever-increasing violence of winds. The forest can be restored, but an old-growth forest is an artwork that needs its artist - The Long Time - in order for it to re-emerge.

    Everything is interconnected; we just need to tune our senses to see that. Forests are us. We are forests. Everything in our culture is because of the forest, every object, every piece of clothing, every vehicle, every building is somehow indebted  to the forest. Denying or ignoring this reflects our disconnection, ignorance, numbness and loss of gratitude. 

     

    What are we missing?

    When I moved to Portugal, I experienced the most shocking environmental disaster I have witnessed in my life - the aftermath of the devastating forest fires of 2017, with kilometre after kilometre of charred remains of trees marking the ravages endured by the earth. An otherworldly landscape of devastation created by fires sweeping through the endless eucalyptus plantations that have taken over the Portuguese countryside. Burned forests, farms, gardens and villages. Human, plant and animal lives lost. Seeing this devastation pushed me to connect with communities able to share their feelings and observations of the forest. I was hoping to gain a deeper understanding of the situation and uncover the root of the crisis. But I also desperately wanted to hear that people still remembered and loved their forests, despite the wide-scale replacement of natural forests with monoculture tree factories.

    After making my first art-film Eternal Forest (2018), composed of interviews with people from the communities in the area of Góis, Coimbra, an area greatly affected by those tragic fires, I organised film screenings and discussions all around Portugal. While meeting people, I kept hearing similar questions and observations. Everywhere the conversations focused on the economic benefits of a profit-driven, extractive relationship with nature, and concerns, framed by a scarcity mindset, about the viability of living with naturally biodiverse forests.

    Forest is a place where we plant and harvest - forest gradually becomes a farm. If a certain element of the ecosystem has no commercial value, we simply take it out of the equation. The end result is monoculture - endless rows of eucalyptus, cork oaks, olive, almond and pine trees, with little in-between. This inevitably leads to a loss of health and vitality of the ecosystem, a loss of biodiversity and water, and the degradation of the soil. The land stops giving.

    I want to contemplate a thought for a moment. Scarcity does not exist in a healthy, biodiverse, fully functional ecosystem. Scarcity has been instilled into us based on a story of losing our place in the garden of Eden. Working hard, extracting what we can, and when we cannot take more, moving on - this has been our path. Today there are simply no places left without the scars of industrial-scale extraction, and all too often the idea of an abundant garden seems unbelievable when we hold in our hands the soil that has no life and is just dust.


    What if we gave space and time?

    I sensed there was something fundamental missing from the conversations I was having. It felt like trying to listen to the faint pulse of someone who had lost consciousness, to see if they were coming back. That piece of the puzzle came to me as a counterpoint to the mainstream economic narrative of always needing to profit from the forest.

    After many remarkable encounters with the public, climate change specialists, soil and forest scientists, ecologists, permaculturists, philosophers and anthropologists, I kept questioning the idea that we can only ‘afford’ forests when they are economically viable. Once I formulated the new thought, it was clear that it was fresh but not new - it was an old message from the forest that has been dreaming for a long time (not so long, though, in Forest Time) and returned  because we need it now so badly and are ready to hear it.

    This is when the vision of an Eternal Forest as a sanctuary came to me. It was to be a protected forest space, created through art, with a focus on biodiversity and supported by a local community for 1,000 years. I could finally verbalise it, describe it and even design it. During an art residency in 2019 I proposed to establish with a community an Eternal Forest Sanctuary, as a place, process and practice, whereby the community became the long-term guardian of the forest sanctuary, created a cycle of events and experiences, and welcomed artists interested in co-creating with the evolving forest ecosystem.


    Continue reading on The Empty Square

  • Monday, July 25, 2022 9:18 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

     

    MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

    July 25, 2022

    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. 

     

  • Wednesday, July 13, 2022 9:01 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    Meet Rewilding Collagist Jennifer Gunlock

    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





  • Monday, July 11, 2022 8:48 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

    July 11, 2022

    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.


  • Monday, July 04, 2022 10:04 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

    July 4, 2022

    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 ecofeminist scholars, 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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