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
  • Wednesday, May 12, 2021 8:14 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    My work explores lens-based practice as a mode of representation allowing for poetic and critical  engagement with culturally charged sites of significance, as well as those presumed to be neutral.  The resulting imagery is at once metaphoric and banal, emphasizing the arbitrary relevance of the  distinct forms pictured. Combining a documentary approach with direct intervention, my process  incorporates multiple reproductive methods including digital imaging, film, and video. Sensitive to  the role of the camera in contributing to the proliferation of familiar, constructed images of  landscape, I made a deliberate decision in recent years to incorporate (potentially) less mediated  photographic processes including cyanotype prints and other UV-based contact exposure  methods. 

    Working between and within the still and moving image, my projects examine the role of these  media in shaping personal and social understandings of our environment through site-responsive  engagement. Drawing on conventions of photography and cinema as emblematic of archived  experience, the premise of evidentiary authenticity is deliberately probed via found and fabricated  situations that are traced, replicated and transformed. Expansive presentation modes place  sequential and composite imagery in relation as imperfectly contiguous screen-based and print  forms, stressing the fragmentary nature of perceptual response. The ephemeral state implied by  the time-based recording of physical elements is distinct from the printed reproduction – a stable  frame that persists, suggesting all matter is sound enough to endure inevitable and relentless  shifts, however benign or catastrophic. This approach purposefully unravels our collective  understanding of the perceived world – and by extension, our struggle to orient ourselves within  a shared global space that is rapidly transforming.

    -Dawn Roe


    Mineral House Media: What is your history as an artist? Where did you first find your passion or inspiration to create? What brought to you where you are now?

    Dawn Roe: Hmm…such a tough one. I didn’t necessarily grow up thinking I wanted to be an artist, but was always just pretty curious about the world, generally - lots of looking and thinking, and questioning from a young age, I guess. From my late teenage years to mid-twenties I took a pretty meandering path that eventually led me away from my home state of Michigan to Portland, Oregon where I would live for 10 years in the 1990s and end up completing my undergraduate degree in art at a small college with a really strong BFA program just outside Portland called Marylhurst. I found my way to Marylhurst via the Northwest Film Center where I was initially studying experimental cinema. They had a cooperative program with Marylhust, which worked out great for me. The faculty in both of these programs had a profound impact on me and remain mentors and friends.

    That decade in Portland was a transformative time for me, and certainly shaped my ideas around art and artmaking. My formal education was juxtaposed with the DIY culture embedded in my shared community of punk and indie musicians, writers, zine makers - artists of every variety really. There was fantastic energy and joy, but there was a flipside as well. Many of us struggled with mental health and substance abuse issues, and there was loss along the way. During my final year of undergraduate study, I made the decision to leave Portland and began applying to grad school. As I was already 30 years old at the time, going right into grad school made sense for me, as I was eager to work with a new group of faculty and fellow artists and just really needed to leave Portland. This decision turned out to be the right one, as my three years in the Studio Art MFA program at Illinois State University were equally pivotal, bringing me to a healthier mental and physical space. It was here my focus shifted from working with photography in a more traditional, documentary style to a more expansive mode that led me to begin staging works and considering working with the moving image again.

    MHM: What sort of music do you like to listen to? Does it directly inform the vocal sound components of some of your work?

    DR: Like most people, it’s a pretty wide variety, but I do tend to veer between extremes - from intensely bombastic and scream-y to more somber, melancholy and melodic sorts. I worked in a somewhat infamous club in Portland for years called Satyricon, known for hosting punk and garage acts as well as indie singer/songwriters. A lot of what I listen to would have been played there, either live or on the jukebox - too many bands/people to list, really. But I’ve always listened to a lot of old soul music as well. And yes, all these things directly inform the vocal components of my work for sure. Portland musician and artist Rachel Blumberg contributed her beautiful voice to one of my video works, The Sunshine Bores | The Daylights, and a group of Portland musician friends (Jerry (A.) Lang; Jillian Wieseneck; Dan Eccles; Jennifer Shepard; Dean Miles) produced the audio components to my most recent project, Wretched Yew. Jen Shepard’s vocal track is a hugely vital piece to that video, including a blood curdling scream that gives me chills in the very best way every time I hear it.


    To continue reading go HERE

    Mineral House Media was founded in 2017 as an online curatorial collective focused on the enrichment of personal practice through the elevation of working contemporary artists. We strive to connect artists across the Southeast and beyond through a series of online residencies, interviews, podcasts, mini-documentaries, and annual exhibitions.



  • Tuesday, May 04, 2021 9:06 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    CAA 2021: 89 Panels Focused on the Climate Crisis

    Submitted by Sue Spaid

    According to the official conference schedule, CAA 2021 hosted 89 panels over 4 days that featured nearly 325 presenters addressing issues “including but going beyond eco-art and eco-criticism, with a special focus on climate justice and intersectional thinking as priorities.” I have attended conferences where it was imperative to read presenters’ papers in advance, but this was my first conference where I was expected to watch three to four 15-20 minute videotaped presentations in advance of each 30-minute panel discussion in order to intelligently discuss presenters’ talks. Crazier still, pre-recorded presentations came online less than a week before the first day, leaving those attendees particularly interested in the climate crisis just 168 hours to watch 108 hours of pre-recorded content to prepare for 89 half-hour sessions. For good, several climate crisis panels were booked simultaneously, so one need only prepare for the favored theme. Luckily, the pre-recorded talks and recorded discussions remained available through March 15, which meant that if one devoted five hours a day for the remaining 30 days, one could still catch 153 hours of recorded content. I did my best to view as much content as possible. According to CAA’s post-conference survey, the average attendee checked out the recorded talks associated with two panels.

    Elsewhere I’ve characterized how centuries of colonialism aggravated species extinction, vulnerable essential workers, and the negligence that spurred the Black Lives Movement. Not only did numerous panels tie climate justice to the legacy of colonialism, in particular the violence harnessed to sustain environmentally-insensitive extractive industries; while others credit climate change with instigating radical pedagogies, cultural sustainability, multispecies co-authorship, intersectional approaches to ecology, geo-trauma, and mourning as a means of coping with ecological grief. Given the role played by place in shaping local cultures, beliefs, and values, it’s imperative that societies recognize how degraded environments destabilize cultural identities. Such a diverse range of panels painted climate justice as both product and a cause of widespread social ills.

    Land acknowledgment statements typically honor indigenous peoples’ territories related to the in-person conference’s location. The first CAA 2021 panel I attended encouraged listeners to post the names of Indian tribes whose unceded lands they occupied, which truthfully inspired me for the first time in my life to investigate the Native Americans inhabiting Houston, my parental home since 1977. I eagerly typed in “Akokisa, a tribe associated with the Atakapa Indians,” known as the Atakapa-Ishak Nation. This was the first indication that a zoom meeting could prompt locals to discover local lore.


    This conference provided an opportunity to explore the wealth of contemporary art being created by artists of Native American descent, such as David Boxley’s Tsimshian imagery, Dyani White Hawk’s paintings and beadwork inspired by Lakota quillwork, Oscar Howe’s dynamic casein and tempera paintings, James Johnson’s Tlingit carvings and dynamic skateboards, Courtney Leonard’s ongoing Breach project inspired by the Shinnecock Nation’s ancestral lands near Montauk, and Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie’s digital art. Participating art historians/curators researching indigenous artistic practices included Yve Chavez, Eva Mayhabal Davis, Kendra Greendeer, Frances Holmes, Madison Treece, and Stephanie Sparling Williams. Participants in Aram Han Sifuentes’ workshops have created over 2500 banners that she routinely lends to protesters marching to protect Native American ancestral lands.

    Of special interest was a panel entitled “Artworks of the Future/Artworks for Jellyfish,” during which artists Ted Hiebert and Ryuta Nakijima, artist/ornithologist Silas Fischer, and art historian Amanda Boetzkes discussed bird wellbeing, songbird “consent,” planetary flesh-relations, co-embodiment, the loss of the other vs. extinction, and artworks created by cephalopods (cuttlefish, octopuses, and squids), whose “adaptive coloration” capacities enable them to blend in with computer-generated images of artworks. Another artist who mixes science and art is Xiaojing Yan, who uses a diverse range of natural materials, including pine needles, freshwater pearls, lingzhi mushrooms, and cicada exoskeletons. To create her living sculptures, she puts wood chips and lingzhi spore mixtures into a mold and then removes the mold so the mushrooms can continue growing in a greenhouse.


    One of the sessions whose artworks especially addressed climate change was “During the “From Wheatfields to Ecosophy: A Consideration of Women Artists in the History of Climate Change” session, which Cynthia Veloric who invited me to be the discussant organized. Diane Burko surveyed her paintings that characterize climate change’s effects over a century. Christina Catanese introduced “The Tempestry Project” for which dozens of knitters registered daily temperature fluctuations in colored yarn, while Bonnie Peterson presented her elaborate embroideries that depict environmental data. Jenny Kendler discussed Birds Watching (2018-2019), which captures the eyes of 100 U.S. climate-threatened species, while Daniela Naomi Molnar shared her watercolor paintings that map climate change reshaping our planet.      

    The panel “Aviva Rahmani: From Ecofeminism to Climate Justice” highlighted Rahmani’s oeuvre beginning with her carrying/caring for an object for a week as an undergraduate up through The Blued Tree Symphony (2015-present). MOCA Los Angeles curator Rebecca Skafsgaard Lowery highlighted her early performances, such as The Pocket Book Piece (1969), during which participants described their association to purse items; Smelling (1972), for which blindfolded Cal Arts students sniffed one another to try to identify each other by scent, and the collaborative activist performance Ablutions (1972), which took place in Laddie John Dill’s studio. For this feminist artwork, Judy Chicago, Suzanne Lacy, Sandy Orgel, and Rahmani choreographed performers seated in metal bathtubs, filled with eggs, animal blood, and clay; while the audience heard various speakers personal accounts of rape. Curator Monika Fabijanska remarked that Rahmani was among the first to connect the rape/assault of women to routine violations/abuses of nature. Chava Maeve Krivchenia discussed the results of Rahmani’s having painted boulders alongside a public causeway blue to draw attention to the stagnant water below. Despite having been officially invited by a curator to create this public artwork, an islander subpoenaed her to wash off the paint. With help from the local Garden Club, her “wash-in” became a “teach-in” for passersby. Thanks to her actions, the causeway was opened enough to allow for tidal flushing, thus restoring 27 acres of coastal wetlands. Finally, copyright lawyer Gale Elston explained the significance of Rahmani’s exploration of the limits of VARA, the law protecting artists against artwork damage/removal. To protect forests from fossil fuel development, she painted blue sine waves on trees and copyrighted hundreds of “tree-notes” in an aerial score in the paths of natural gas pipelines as art.


    The rare speaker focused on surface water, Omar Olivares Sandoval’s “Critical Geologies: Contemporary Geoaesthetic Research of Mexico City Lakes” addressed the idealization of Mexico City as a lake. TFAP Ecofeminisms 4, one of several affiliated panels, featured a “Waterways” session, during which Gina McDaniel Tarver discussed Alicia Barney Caldas’ installation Río Cauca (1981-1982), which featured 3 transparent tanks of river water embedded with 15 test tube samples. During the “Art and Ecology in the Middle East and West Asia” panel, Nat Muller discussed Jumana Manna’s Wild Relatives (2018). This “sci-fi” documentary captures the efforts of farmers inhabiting Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley to replicate Aleppo’s seed bank, which had closed in 2012 as a result of the Syrian Civil War, with heirloom seeds acquired from Svalbard’s Global Seed Vault.

    No discussion of climate justice would be complete without remarking on ways to overhaul the capitalocene, which many consider the underlying source of all our ecological ills. Keynote speaker Salah Hassan spoke persuasively of the need for art history to reposition the global south to the center to shift the very paradigms that sustain inequalities stemming from capitalism’s history of racism and slavery. Acting as the discussant for “Art and Ecology in the Middle East and West Asia,” T. J. Demos noted the transition from “petro-affectivity,” such that petrodollars that once greased the Iranian art world, affording artists distinct advantages; now exhibit “necro-affectivity.” For Demos, Muller’s paper muses on “interrogations of precarity and terminal endings visited upon refugee seeds as much as refugee people as investigated in Manna’s slow cinema of slow violence with its somber meditations on the sepulchral afterlife of a culture’s biogenetic heritage as it sits in the seed vault that is itself threatened by the catastrophic climate breakdown and melting permafrost resulting from that earlier fossil capital modernity.” 

    Note: ecoartspace members noted in bold

  • Saturday, May 01, 2021 1:26 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    The ecoartspace May 2021 e-Newsletter is HERE

  • Tuesday, April 13, 2021 10:38 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    (Apis/Homo)

    Connection/Collaboration 1:
    An Interview about interspecies experiences with Dana Michele Hemes
    by Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein 


    Dana Michele Hemes collaborates with humans, insects, microbiomes and bees (to name just a few) in her interspecies experiences. Converging the artistic with the scientific, her work is all about accentuating already existing (but often unnoticeable) interactions in the world around us. Often her work involves highly perceptive technologies that create incredible interactions and sensory spaces. Dana speaks about the importance of connectedness with the environment and between people, her collaborative mindset (with all sizes and beings) and the limits of perception in this interview.  

    It's so great to speak with you, Dana! Let’s jump right in. Your work often involves interactive sculptures to encourage interspecies communication. Where did your inspiration for this work come from?

    I’m interested in the entanglements or connections in the world around us, so I set up scenarios to explore this connectedness. One way I do this is by creating interactive spaces where humans and nonhumans can share a sensory experience. I’m curious as to what we can learn by being present and aware of our shared, intersecting existences… For me, exploring these interspecies relationships is a way to better understand my place in the world.

    I think a lot about the limits of our perception of our environments.

    (Homo/Homo 2 Phase 2)


    That’s beautiful! You seem to highlight these small, often unseen interactions. How do you decide what to magnify?

    When designing interactive spaces, I try to organize them in ways where both species (human and nonhuman) can affect and be affected. In doing so, I think a lot about the limits of our perception of our environments. I start by researching the nonhuman species to learn about how they sense the world; and oftentimes, I build the workaround senses that we share. For example, Ariadna/Homo 1 (which is about corolla spiders) and Pogonomyrmex/Homo 8 (harvester ants) are installations that explore methods of hearing. Humans, corolla spiders, and harvester ants detect and respond to sound in their environments.

    Sometimes the sensory stimuli are imperceptible to humans-- like sounds that are too small or high-pitched for our ears, or light beyond the visible spectrum. In these cases, I use tools to amplify or adapt the stimuli so we are better able to perceive and engage with one another. I also find magnification and shifting scales useful when working with small or microscopic creatures, as a way to bring the human and nonhuman together.

    Exploring these interspecies relationships is a way to better understand my own place in the world.

    (Ariadna/Homo 1)

    By magnifying aspects of foraging behavior or listening strategies, you seem to be helping insects, microbiomes, spiders etc., express their voices. What are the results of these conversations?

    That’s a great question-- and one of the drivers behind the work itself. I’m particularly interested in what emerges as these interspecies conversations take place… and it varies. I don’t have a specific message that I want people to take away from the work; instead, I’m aiming to invite people to try a new or different way of seeing or listening or feeling or being.

    I don’t have a specific message that I want people to take away from the work; instead, I’m aiming to invite people to try a new or different way of seeing or listening or feeling or being.

    (Apis/Homo 1)

    For example, Apis/Homo 1 is a simple, wearable device that creates an opportunity for humans and bees to share an intimate space. Bees can enter and exit the headpiece freely, but the partially closed helmet contains and concentrates the buzzing sounds and flower smells, etc. Here I’m not aiming to make a statement about bees; instead, I’m building a scenario that encourages bee/human conversation and focused observation. The result or takeaway of that shared experience is left for the bees and humans to explore if they want.

    I hope that people take away a greater sense of connectedness to the world, and/or a willingness or interest in trying to think beyond themselves or the human. Perhaps it’s a new lens to have in your back pocket that invites a broadened perspective, empathy, or flexibility of the self.

    It seems like your work process is also part of the exploration. Do you consider your subjects interspecies collaborators or actors in your vision?


    I think it’s important to note that the subject of the work is the whole experience-- the interaction that takes place between humans, nonhumans, and the constructed space. The ants, bacteria, humans, tech, corn, birds, sunlight, air, etc. are all components that shape the interaction. For example, Homo[+]/Homo 2, Phase 2 is a work that connects humans to their bacterial microbiomes through vegetable fiber candies.  It was first shown at a one-night event in an indoor gallery at Pioneer Works. I used the feedback on candy flavors to tweak recipes and addressed questions by reorganizing the components of the work. Homo[+]/Homo 2, Phase 3 is the updated version, which was then activated at an outdoor festival at the Wassaic Project. 

    With this in mind, I consider all of the active participant's collaborators-- living and nonliving. But this collaborative connectedness doesn’t only occur in my built environments; it happens all the time. I’m using art as a method to illuminate these connections and to facilitate broader perspectives beyond the human.

    I consider all of the active participant's collaborators… this collaborative connectedness doesn’t only occur in my built environments; it happens all the time.

    (Homo/Homo 2 Phase 2)

    It all seems very scientific and you name your works in the Latin or in traditional scientific classifications. What role do the traditions of science play in your work?

    My work is interdisciplinary-- integrating science, philosophy, and art into the making and thinking. So science is an essential part of my practice. I love that curiosity is baked into its core, and that scientists ask big questions and have specific methods and tools for searching for answers. I’m also fascinated by taxonomy or the systems we use to order and categorize information-- particularly the limitations of these systems, like when we discover something that doesn’t quite fit into any of our categories. Scientific classification changes, which highlights the fluid nature of our knowledge about the world. Originally, Linnaeus’ taxonomy only had 2 kingdoms-- plants and animals. For a while, there were 8 kingdoms, which were later reduced to 6, and as of 2015 there are 7… and there is still plenty of room for debate around outliers-- like viruses.

    For something that seems so neat and orderly, it’s actually a messy, malleable, slippery and sometimes contentious process. I think that’s why I’m drawn to using them in my titles… Plus, naming things feels like a very human thing to do.

    Collaboration is an important part of my process-- whether it’s working with scientists, programmers, the public, or other species-- it helps the work grow into something bigger and more interesting.

    (Homo/Homo 3 Phase 2)

    And you often include human technologies to create your works including specialized engineering and sensorial technology. How do you approach scientific and engineering problems as an artist?

    I’d say that I approach engineering problems with naive enthusiasm. There is so much I don’t know about computer science and electrical engineering; so, I blindly assume that if I have a specific question or tech need, there must be an answer in a forum in some corner of the internet.

    Also, I ask for help from people who know more than me. Collaboration is an important part of my process-- whether it’s working with scientists, programmers, the public, or other species-- it helps the work grow into something bigger and more interesting.

    My work is about shifting perspectives and revealing a thing that’s already there…

    (Pogo/Homo)

    There was this lovely description in your artist statement, where you write “Each moment is an event: an active, participatory state where all parts of a system affect and are affected”, how can art accentuate or add to this participation? Do you consider your work a form of performance art?

    Art is a medium that can set a framework that intentionally requests an open mind. It’s stuff that’s about other stuff. It sets people up for looking deeply and feeling their way through an unknown. My work is about shifting perspectives and revealing a thing that’s already there-- so while people are always active participants in the world, I think it might be easier to engage meaningfully when the environment requests and directs focus.

    I consider my work interactive rather than performance, only because I don’t want to risk implying that there’s a distinction between the actor(s) and the audience. I think that the term “interactive” helps to frame the experience as one where you cause change and can be changed... all parts affect and are affected.

    And lastly, how have your projects adapted to Covid-19 times given that there is now less possibility for live experiences?

    The lack of physical interactions with people has definitely been a challenge. That said, I’ve been able to continue collaborating with artists and scientists through virtual means. I’m currently working on a project that is exploring our connection to the octopus, which is supported by the Ocean Memory Project. The Ocean Memory community is a cross-disciplinary, far-reaching network of people who come from different backgrounds and areas of expertise (and geographic locations). With video-based virtual meeting technologies becoming so commonplace, it has made these long-distance conversations easier. One thing that this pandemic has illustrated is the connectedness of the world; and how these connections shape our lives and behaviors in real and sometimes painful ways.

    But things are starting to reopen; and I’m excited to be starting a studio residency at Cornerstone STUDIOS. I optimistically look forward to future gatherings... humans, nonhumans, and all.

    danamichelehemes.com


  • Friday, April 02, 2021 9:23 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    The ecoartspace April 2021 e-Newsletter is HERE

  • Wednesday, March 24, 2021 11:12 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    ecoartspace is pleased to host the Scientist Artist Net Zero (SANZ) policy initiative on our website for ecoartists to participate as full partners in policy decisions regarding the climate crisis. ecoartspace shares the Biden administration’s vision for an existential and pragmatic race to net-zero. We invite you to join us in the effort to amplify outreach and effect systemic changes towards that goal.

    Please access further information about the SANZ initiative here and add your signature HERE.

    ScienceARtNetZero.pdf

  • Thursday, March 18, 2021 1:21 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    CALL FOR ARTISTS

    I AM WATER

    DEADLINE May 10, 2021

    I AM WATER is a public art exhibition organized by Our Humanity Matters and ecoartspace in collaboration with SaveArtSpace. The exhibition will consist of a series of billboards sited in New York City that will address our relationship to water and our human understanding that we are water.

    Water is the origin of life with the innate purpose to continue creation. In water, we see that everything is connected and interrelated. Everything is liquid before it becomes solid. Humans, who are mostly water, depend on it to protect our DNA and for our basic survival. Water is not a resource but an essential connection to life. The one-sidedness of modern consciousness and our disconnect from nature increasingly subjects water to pollution. If we do not change our behavior, we will run out of water.

    We humans cannot be healthy if our waters are not healthy. This exhibition is an opportunity to show water’s mystery and importance and to help reestablish, on a deep cellular level, the intimate relationship with water that we have lost in modern life. 

    Exhibition Curator: Patricia Watts, founder of ecoartspace

    Production Curator: Tanja Andrejasic Wechsler, founder of Our Humanity Matters

    We invite artists over the age of 18 years to submit their artwork between March 15 and May 10, 2021. This is an opportunity to have your work placed on ad space in New York City.

    There is a $10 donation per image submission to participate, each donation is tax-deductible and goes to producing the public art. Each artist is encouraged to submit up to 10 images including video stills (digital billboards not guaranteed). The selected artists will be announced after May 24 and will be exhibited on ad spaces in New York City, launching in June for at least one month.



  • Thursday, March 18, 2021 1:10 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    CALL FOR ARTISTS

    Embodied Forest

    DEADLINE May 15, 2021

    Embodied Forest is the title of the fall ecoartspace online exhibition + book that will launch September 1, 2021. Applicants whose work addresses our human relationship with trees and forests are encouraged to apply.

    In the context of this exhibition, the term embodied can be understood as the act of giving a body to something intangible; to incarnate; to stand in the same place of; to become part of a collective body; to personify; or to empathize. The subject matter of your work for Embodied Forest will address the worlds of trees and forests including though not limited to companion species, microbes, root systems, mushrooms, birds, fungus, moss, lichen, mist/fog/water, insects, spiders, parasites, bacteria, etc.

    The entanglements of a forest are unlimited and we are seeking to represent an in-depth examination of the interconnectedness of trees with all living things including humans. All mediums are accepted and will include performance, sound and video. Abstraction is also encouraged.

    Since June 2020 ecoartspace has held a monthly Zoom dialogue with member artists presenting their work about trees. Sant Khalsa, curator of Tree Talk and founder of the Joshua Tree Center For Photographic Arts will be co-hosting this monthly dialogue through the end of 2021. A select group of artists from Embodied Forest will be featured in upcoming events.

    You must be an ecoartspace member to apply

    (please email info@ecoartspace.org if you're financially impacted and would like to apply)

    JUROR

    Lilian Fraiji is a curator and producer based in the Amazon, Brazil and is the co-founder of LABVERDE program, a project dedicated to developing multidisciplinary content involving art, science and nature. As an independent researcher Fraiji is interested in how culture is related to nature and how the landscape is shaped in the Anthropocene. She has curated several art exhibitions involving the subject of Nature including in 2019, How to Talk with Trees and Irreversível, and in 2018, Invisible LandscapeCurrently, Fraiji is the curator of the online Festival called Tomorrow is Now and is collaborating with Sonic Matter: The Witness (Festival in Swiss) and the SIM São Paulo. She is a specialist in Cultural Management from Barcelona University and has a Master’s degree in Curating Arts from the University of Ramon Llull, Barcelona. In 2020 Fraiji was awarded the Serrapilheira prize for contributing to democratizing science.



  • Saturday, March 13, 2021 12:10 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    Diane Burko talks about flying with James Turrell, becoming a climate activist, and current work

    By Susan IsaacsMarch 12, 2021 on Artblog

    Artblog contributor Susan Isaacs connects with climate art activist Diane Burko over their shared admiration for artists like Augustus Vincent Tack, their interest in climate-focused art, and Diane's upcoming lecture at Towson University (where Susan is a professor and curator).

    Diane Burko, known for her activist paintings and programs dealing with environmental issues, spoke with Susan Isaacs recently via Zoom. Burko has an upcoming live Zoom lecture at Towson University that is free and open to the public on March 25, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. and an upcoming exhibition: Seeing Climate Change: Diane Burko, 2002-2021 at the American University Museum at the Katzen Center, Washington D.C. August 28—December 12, 2021. Register for the Towson lecture.

    Susan Isaacs: Hi Diane. So, we found we have a common interest. You discovered the work of Augustus Vincent Tack when you were in graduate school at Penn and were inspired by Tack’s abstraction of the landscape, responding to his lozenge-like shapes in your blue and white paintings. I wrote my dissertation on Tack.

    Diane Burko: What an amazing coincidence. I loved visiting all his work at the Phillips.

    SI: Let’s discuss your background. You began as a painter?

    DB: Yes, I was a painter though I always used the camera, initially to document my work and to record what I was seeing and, for me, seeing was all about the landscape.

    It was all about going out and being swept away by these big empty open spaces, probably because I was from the city (originally Brooklyn) and I never saw open spaces. I lived in an apartment building, and I was just captivated right from the start with these large vistas, these dramatic panoramas, and of course I had seen them in Hudson River School paintings in my art history books and classes, and also French painters who I knew quite a bit about so that’s where I began.

    SI: So, from the beginning as a professional artist, you felt, you were a landscape painter.

    DB: Yes, you know I painted the figure and the still life and all that stuff that you do in school, but I think the reason I latched on to the landscape is because it allowed me to be the most abstract.

    It gave me the most control of what I wanted to do. Although I actually started graduate school as an abstract artist. I entered not with the realistic paintings that I left with, but with these very large pastel oil stick abstract images that were reminiscent of a combination of maybe de Kooning and Matta. You know, it was that era. Remember, I was doing work in the late 60s, so a lot of my teachers were second, third generation abstract expressionists, so I was very much of that school when I entered graduate school.

    SI: And when you were doing that, did you think about content at all?

    DB: All of the terminology and the theory that we now have in post modernism—all of that was totally absent in my education; it was all about the canvas, making the work, being involved in the work, I had no real awareness of where I was in the world, quite frankly. And I loved just making stuff. I fell in love with painting; it became a habit. The content at that point was the landscape.

    The tenor of Penn at the time was to paint what you were seeing. I realized that after I got there. Landscape painting was a whole new world. Going to the Grand Canyon was amazing, and I think at the beginning, I was just responding to what I was looking at.

    I always made photographs of the landscapes that I would visit, especially since seeing the Grand Canyon, flying with Jim Turrell. Jim and I met socially in the 70s, when we’re both very young and I told him I was going to the Grand Canyon. He said, “You don’t want to drive, you want to fly into the Grand Canyon.” He claimed he could fly so I wrote to him, we connected, and Arizona State University drove me up to meet him in Mesa, which is where he had his plane and it changed my life. It is more abstract to look at these patterns that appear when you look down on the landscape. Yvonne Jaquette was doing the same sort of thing—we had similar paintings at that point in time; I would take these photographs, bring them back to the studio, and paint from the photographs.

    SI: So that flight was very important in terms of shifting your viewpoint.

    Continue reading HERE


  • Thursday, March 11, 2021 3:26 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Still from Food for Thought Exhibition Video

    The Big Picture, Up Close:
    An Interview with Robert Dash

    Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein


    Robert Dash is a widely recognized and accomplished photographer and a great admirer of the natural world. As a naturalist, artist and educator, Robert uses micro-photography to provide a new dimension of depth to our common understanding of the world around us. Through these incredible photographs, Robert emphasizes the complexity and importance of nature and stands as a reminder that there is so much to discover. Providing an important intersection between scientific inquiry and artistic expression, Robert’s work epitomizes a necessary relationship between study and discovery. In this interview, Robert takes us on a journey through terrains the size of a pinhead and gives incredible insight into reflection and intimacy with the natural world. 

    Hummingbird Feather Detail from Micro Climate Change


    Robert, your work stands at the intersection of art and science. By looking at objects in your surroundings very closely, you present mesmerizing photographs. What is the greatest wonder that you have found in this micro world? What do artists have to learn from looking at things extremely closely? Many artists were historically also scientists, how do the two disciplines interact?

    Science (fact) inspires art (metaphor) which stimulates imagination, curiosity, inquiry (and new facts…)  Remarkable textures and patterns in nature are beautiful in their own right. They can also inspire deep questions, observations, perhaps a lifetime career or Nobel prize.

    Look at the underside of this hop leaf and olive leaf. I was stunned when I first saw these. These structures are a fraction of a pinhead wide.

    Hop leaf detail

    Olive leaf detail (underside, with trichomes) 

    I love to hike when I come upon views and perspectives that I’ve never seen before. Most of the time, I’m on a trail that thousands of people have already visited. Macro photography and SEM imaging are like micro-hikes, going to micro landscapes which few (if any) have seen before. Some of what I find is mind-blowing, design-wise, and overwhelms my imagination.  On the other hand, looking closely represents an aesthetic and personal choice to settle down, observe, and patiently contemplate a subject, which is counter to so much of modern frenetic lifestyles. My first book, On an Acre Shy of Eternity, was a three-year quest to look at all the layers of beauty I could find on the three-quarters of an acre where I live. It’s what started my work with a scanning electron microscope. Slowing down for that period inspired contemplation and poetry.

    Both science and art deal in awe, wonder, surprise, and creativity, but for the sake of conjecture and over-generalizing: art leans toward the infinite, imagined, nebulous, while science leans toward the finite, provable, precise. Maybe art makes us feel, first, while science makes us think, first.

    In your TEDx talk, you discuss the topic of “eco-intercourse” that happens when breathing in air in a forest surrounded by leaves that create oxygen. Can you expand on this shift in perspective and the consciousness that it creates?

    I’ll answer with my poem:

    Primal Exchange

    There’s a whole ocean in the sky:
    drops sucked from lakes where we swim,
    clouds at dusk that leave us breathless,
    salty residues of our grief and toil.
    All of it
    filters through pinpoint cells on leaves and plants
    over and over each year.
    They barter pure air for our exhalations
    in the primal exchange.
    Every stomata
    on all plants of the world could match in number
    stars in the sky
    and like stars, they need songs and sonnets of their own.
    Bring a loved one out beneath the trees
    send your breaths up to constellations and galaxies of stomata
    and receive their breaths in reply.
    What could be more intimate than the truth
    that our bodies are made of each others’ atoms
    And those of the world?
                    
    Robert Dash, On An Acre Shy Of Eternity, ©2017

    Poplar Stomata

    Your metaphors are so intimate and reflect this feeling of awe when encountered with wild landscapes. How has this eco-intercourse driven your most recent work, Food For Thought, where you present extreme close up images of climate resistant crops and of compost?

    Three years ago, my images were all about climate threats to staple foods such as corn, beans, wheat. Drought, floods, disease, nutrient depletion–there are many grim stories. The more I studied, the more I learned about carbon farming and regenerative agriculture, and I became excited about how these practices could help reverse climate change. Since scanning electron microscope work is so labor intensive, I only took food samples to the lab which had either a connection to these climate perils or promises. I looked at hundreds of samples, and then chose the ones which made my jaw drop when I first saw them.

    More than an individual plant that creates climate resilience (and there are many, including agave in deserts, kelp in coastal areas, fava beans and clover cover crops on croplands), by far the most impactful practices are the rebuilding of soil, by storing more organic matter (carbon) there. The film “Kiss the Ground” explores this. My biochar image helped me understand why adding compost and biochar to the soil is so significant. Biochar is sometimes called a “microbial hotel” because of all of the hiding places it provides for microbial organisms and decomposers so important to rich, organic soil. The crystalline structure displayed in this image floored me, especially when you consider that the piece of biochar depicted is roughly the width of a pinhead.

    …macro and micro, color and monochrome, fact and metaphor, surreal and hyper-real, serious and whimsical, flat and dimensional. Just like life, which is so layered and complex.

    Biochar

    Really beautiful and insightful! How do you decide to integrate your microscopic images into artworks? What methods do you use?

    Master photo composite artist Jerry Uehlsman uses the term “assets” when describing the separate elements which comprise his work. These assets come together on a “canvas” and present a shape, color, texture, pattern, or metaphor. The trick is to discover what conversation these elements can have to make a unified image. Does the image suggest a story or world? Does it invite deeper study? Does it “work”, without feeling forced or contrived? Some of these images took years to resolve. For example, I was stuck with the potato image for the longest time, until I saw the starch granules, magnification 1000x, as tiny potatoes. By pairing macro potatoes with “granular potatoes”, the image finally clicked. 

    Potato Starch

    I have noticed that many of your works for Food For Thought take place on a black background, with monochrome microscopic imagery and highly defined and saturated imagery. How did you decide on this aesthetic?

    The simple answer is, I love how it looks. A black background creates a dramatic contrast to the macro and micrograph images, and that drama mirrors the impact of awe and wonder I feel in nature. Then there are the pairings of macro and micro, color and monochrome, fact and metaphor, surreal and hyper-real, serious and whimsical, flat and dimensional. Just like life, which is so layered and complex.

    I’m not a digital native. My native comfort zone as a child was hanging out with salamanders, frogs, snakes, insects, and tadpoles.

    You speak and write compellingly about the importance of investing in nature. What do people need to know about the natural world? How do you think growing dependence on digital technology is helping and hurting this relationship?

    Having been born deep inside the last century, I’m not a digital native. My native comfort zone as a child was hanging out with salamanders, frogs, snakes, insects, and tadpoles. This cemented my fascination with tiny life. Humans have an ancient, intimate relationship with nature that is spiritually vital. A huge range of modern anxieties–alienation, depression, isolation, rage–are connected to syndromes like Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD), where we’ve lost that contact.

    I spend far more time with screens than I ever thought possible. Much of it is an attempt to translate, through art, my lifelong love for nature. Our attention spans have been fractured by the juicing of brain chemicals that come from digital surfing, and this damages our ability to think deeply, and to create. I worry that this is numbing us to the ancient joys of belonging to wild things, and to caring enough about them to protect them. Digital tools can help promote conservation–think drones that disperse seeds over wide deforested areas, or that document poaching in remote lands. Beneath it all is a question: how does this technology serve the cause of balance, restoration, health?

    Requiem for the Pollinators

    Lastly, what are you working on now?

    The Food for Thought work is issue-based, looking at climate change impacts on food. All of my text for this (upcoming) book is about documenting climate/food perils and promises. It’s a very different focus from my first book. Each image reveals layers of stories, but this is a narrative rather than a poetic journey.



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