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Member Spotlight l Deanna Pindell

Monday, December 12, 2022 8:41 AM | Anonymous


December 12, 2022

This week we recognize   Deanna Pindell, based in Washington State and her focus on forest and water quality issues through community engagement.

Unsanctioned Restoration Actions, 2012 (above) is an ongoing performative project in collaboration with Douglas Fir trees. The mugshots document these youthful delinquents.​ "Life for these Fir seedlings began in unfortunate circumstances. Perhaps they germinated underneath power lines, or in lots slated for development. These youths sprout as wayward and neglected weeds. They are highly at-risk for future delinquency: blocking views, disrupting power lines, and worse. Society generally chops them down before they have a chance. These yearlings must be rescued and nurtured. Eventually they are replanted along eroding hillsides and stream-banks, where trees are needed to protect the watershed. The young trees thrive in a healthier habitat, where they can be successful and useful to their ecosystem." click images for more info

Sequestrium, 2008 (above) is a theatrical stage installation to be experienced by one person at a time. The forms of  the pods and twines are inspired by the questions:  What would it be  like to be inside, or underneath, a tree’s roots .... to feel the world from a tree’s perspective. Inscribed on the walls are a number of proverbs, quotations, and lines of poetry, about trees; collected from cultures around the world.

Seeking Salal, 2010 (above) undertakes the restoration of both the woodland ecology and the social ecology through the important native shrub, Salal.​ The forest-habitat remediation began with removing invasive vegetation and replacing with native Salal, a keystone indigenous shrub. Handmade wattles meander 200 feet through the forest, along the trail and under trees. The wattles serve to mulch salal seedlings.​ Text is hand-stitched into the hand-made burlap wattles, using black wool. The text includes the word for Salal in eight Pacific Northwest Indigenous languages, and English poetry. Eventually the wattles will decay, becoming mulch and nesting material for the resident flora and fauna.

We All Share the Same Water, 2012 (below) was designed to improve an existing stormwater runoff system, and adds art inspired by the research of the students who use the pond as an outdoor classroom. This earthwork functions to protect the nearby Catawba River, which supplies the drinking water aquifer for the region. The problem which we needed to solve involved slowing down the fast flow of stormwater from the nearby parking lot during rain events. The stormwater carries pollutants and sediments from the parking lot, and causes erosion. Our goal was to slow down stormwater and allow it to pool up before it gets to the settling pond. This allows the sediments  and heavy metals to settle out and filter some of the pollutants. Next, the 'pre-treated' water flows to the pond where bacteria and plants continue to cleanse the water naturally. Small critters and insects can flourish in such a stormwater pond. The students at this school used the pond as an outdoor laboratory. Together, we chose five species from their research projects to be represented in this artwork.

Koh Seametrey, 2016 (below) is an ecosystem built by a coalition of Khmer and Western human organisms, an artificial island designed to clean water and provide wetland habitat in Cambodia. "What was there to work with, in this rural village? We used the most plentiful materials at hand: emptied plastic water bottles, bamboo, coconut coir, and a sticky clay mud, to form the traditional Khmer design of chan flower. As form came to float, we planted with water-cleansing wetlands plants, botanically known as emergent species. Roots and rhizomes of these sedges and pickerels will develop into an underwater thicket, perfect habitat for a microbial sludge that will consume pollutants. The tiniest will soon be eaten by the larger; fish and amphibians will bring forth new young in the shady, nutrient dense homeland. The emergence of this artificial territory parallels the emerging minds of the rural children at Seametry Montessori Children’s Village south of Phnom Penh. You Muoy, founder and headmistress, sponsored this artist residency with three goals: to teach children to recycle plastic bottles (in a country where potable tap water is never available); to teach the children about the plant cycles that clean the water; and to initiate the cleaning of these construction drainage ponds.     Rhizomatic reciprocity, in the most littoral of senses."

Deanna Pindell  focuses on forest and water quality issues through sculpture, installation, and public art. She explores the complexity of these concerns and proposes functional, remediative solutions when possible.As a citizen scientist and community-engaged artist, she has worked with climate scientists, marine biologists, water-quality chemists, soils scientists and a variety of community stakeholders. Pindell also teaches art and gives presentations on ecoart history, practitioners, and potentials. Her background includes curation, gallerist, boardmember, theatrical scenic artist and set-builder, performer, producer ... a wide range of experiences as befits a lifetime working artist  Deanna lives with her husband and animals on a tiny rural farm known as Pindellopia, an art project of a different sort.​


Featured Images (top to bottom): ©Deanna Pindell, Unsanctioned Restoration Mugshots, 2012, Douglas fir seedlings, archival digital ink print on canvas, 36 x 24 inches; Sequestrium, 2008, porcelain pods, sisal twine, resin, handwritten text, plywood booth​, exterior booth dimensions 9 x 5 x 5 feet​, installation interior 8 x 5 x 5 feet; ​Seeking Salal, 2010, plants, mulch, wattles, located at Webster’s Wood Sculpture Park, Port Angeles Fine Art Center​, Port Angeles, Washington; We All Share the Same Water, 2012, engraved granite on concrete pillars, made during residency at McColl Center for Visual Art Environmental Artist-in-Residency (EAIR), Charlotte, North Carolina; Koh Seametrey, 2016, wetlands plants, bamboo, recycled plastic water bottles, natural fibers, located in Tonli Bati, Cambodia at the Seametrey Children’s Village; below, portrait of the artist.

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