THE NEW GEOLOGIC EPOCH
online exhibition + printed book
For this exhibition, member artists/scientists illuminate the transformations that have led us to the current human epoch, now referred to as the Anthropocene.
The New Geologic Epoch presents work relating to or commenting on geological transformations in the land including commentary on previous works by Earth or Land artists. The works reference our evolution leading to the precarious situation we find ourselves in today with massive scarring of the planet's surfaces due to mining and the impacts of the built environment with the development of dams, bridges, roads, and sprawling urban cities. Works include a wide range of media with drawings, watercolors, collage, textile, sculpture, ceramic, painting, photography, sound, video, film, installation, performative, and eco-remediation.
The New Geologic Epoch captures the shifting baselines in the landscape, which over time have become the new normal.
The Anthropocene is part of geologic time. Formalizing it precisely will help determine its meaning and use in all sciences and other academic disciplines. The end of a relatively stable epoch in Earth’s history, the Holocene, will thus be recognized. — Alejandro Cearreta
Juror’s Statement: Mary Mattingly
Humanity possesses an unparalleled capacity to mold, reshape, and at times, devastate ecosystems that health and well-being depend on. The prevailing narratives of advancement, expansion, and individualism have fueled harmful behaviors propelling what has been called the Anthropocene era. Conversely, alternative narratives challenge the ideologies in power, advocating for more sustainable and equitable manners of coexisting with the planet.
The artworks depicted in The New Geologic Epoch delve into intricate power dynamics that locked many people into participating in harmful systems, as well as capacities for action that help envision larger alternatives. They underscore how certain factions and industries have disproportionately contributed to the defining traits of this time, including unrestrained resource extraction, the destruction of habitats, of clean water, and the pervasive pollution that has prolonged social and environmental injustices in areas often called a sacrifice zone, affecting marginalized communities and the natural world. A report by the United Nations in 2022 highlighted that millions of people globally inhabit pollution sacrifice zones used for heavy industry and mining. It should be recognized that disruptions in one corner of the globe send reverberations throughout the entirety of the planet.
Many of these artworks ask viewers to bear witness to landscape transformations, industrial waste, rising sea levels, and shifts in climate. They also impart important reminders that compassion and interdependencies define human relations with plants, animals, air, water, and soils. Some works help shed light on a foundation for interactions that are more sustainable and harmonious, from the substances utilized to make the work to the underlying messages, they evoke contemplation, responsibility, and a dedication to cultivating relationships rooted in reciprocity.
S E L E C T E D A R T I S T S
Lauren Bon + Metabolic Studio
E Tyler Burton
PlantBot Genetics, DesChene+Schmuki
Kim V. Goldsmith
Malin Lobell, (p)Art of Biomass
Susana Soares Pinto
Ashley Diane Saldana
JUROR Mary Mattingly
Mary Mattingly is an interdisciplinary artist committed to storytelling through public art, with a focus on imagined futures. She founded Swale, an edible landscape on a public barge in NYC, and has worked on recent projects such as Liminal Lacrimosa in Glacier National Park and Public Water with + More Art in Brooklyn. Mattingly has received grants from foundations such as the James L. Knight Foundation and has been featured in various documentaries and publications, including Art21 and The New York Times. She was recently awarded a 2023 Guggenheim Fellowship in Visual Arts, and in 2022, a monograph of Mattingly's work titled "What Happens After,” was published by the Anchorage Museum and Hirmer.
Image: Photo by Greg Lindquist included in Curbed interview, October 17, 2022 (click on image)