2D Visual Arts
Kristi McCluer, Beacon Rock Golf Course with Eagle Creek Wildfire, 2017, photograph.
This dramatic image went viral after the amateur photographer posted it. While skydiving, she saw the Oregon wildfire and its proximity (a mile across the Columbia River) to a golf course in North Bonneville WA, then took the picture of golfers carrying on calmly with a raging inferno right behind them on Sept. 4. "In the pantheon of visual metaphors for America today, tweeted writer and producer David Simon, (The Wire), this is the money shot."
Zaria Forman, Jakobshavn Glacier,Greenland, 2018, large-scale pastel on canvas.
Forman has spent the last two years traveling with NASA’s science missions over Antarctica and the Arctic to "track how ice is moving." The result is a collection "rendered in hyperrealistic detail, images that are an incredible yet poignant representation of the majesty of glaciers that are rapidly deteriorating...the heart of Forman’s work is an opportunity to communicate the alarming rate at which the polar regions are melting. By showing what we have to lose, she implores us to urgently act in ways that help combat climate change."
Dearclimate.net, Give me Luxury or Give me Breath, 2022
"Meet the climate; befriend the climate; become the climate." This website (collaborative work by Marina Zurkow, Una Chaudhuri, and Oliver Kellhammer) has many humorous and creative downloadable posters. Here's a favorite (would we first-worlders really rather die than give up our high standard of living? we act like it!):
NorTijan Firdaus, Climate Change is Real, 2020, collage.
This Malaysian artist forms a portrait of an innocent child through a collage of e-waste, the very objects that consume contemporary society. "The jarring composition creates a forceful reality for the viewer in that they become overtly aware of the wider role humanity plays in environmental destruction."
zhc, Climate Crisis, 2016, photograph. Zhc’s concerns for his homeland, Bangladesh, are shown in this striking image. "The contrast between the family of three adorned in ruby red against the dried and barren landscape emphasizes the degree of damage caused by changes in sea levels and rising temperatures. By capturing these desolate spaces, the photographer illustrates how such degradation to our planet has led to a large displacement of people throughout the nation."
Graeme Mackey, Four Waves, 2020, cartoon. The original double wave (covid, recession) version by this Canadian editorial cartoonist went viral across the globe at the beginning of the pandemic and inspired multiple knockoffs. Mackay's new four wave version recognizes the climate aspect of the multiple crises looming over humanity.
John Gerrard, Flare (Oceania), 2021. A simulation created for COP26, shown as a large-scale LED wall. "The work responds to a statement from Tongan artist + activist Uili Lousi, whose ancestral ocean is heating due to climate change." Irish new media artist Gerrard is known for Western Flag, a video work made in 2017, in which the site of the world’s first major oil find in Texas is marked by a "banner of constantly billowing black smoke." Here he was inspired to create a "flag from flames, set against a real-time seascape based on photographs taken by Lousi."
Sayo Watanabe, Don't Trash It, 2017. Climate change poster showing the planet dumped in an ubiquitous New York City trash can, "a reminder for humans to be more environmentally thoughtful in their daily lives." She is mainly a fashion designer who works to bring sustainability to her industry.
Celeste Byers, Justice First, 2018. Some of you may have gotten one of these free posters, as I did, at the Climate Justice Festival in August. It was commissioned for the Dogwood Alliance's "Justice First Tour" in 10 Southern states in 2018. I find this image so appealing as well as very effective in communicating our aspirations for humans and the planet. Byers is known for vivid tropical murals. I hope she will turn her talents to more eco-art themes in the future. Click the image for more details, and look her up at celestebyers.com.
Forest, 2019-20, multimedia, with drawings by Katie Holten and poem by Forrest Gander was published in Emergence Magazine. Her delightful and delicate "tree alphabets" and graphic black and white palette bridge the gap between nature and culture in a whimsical way. Click the image and watch the forest grow!
Alexis Rockman, The Farm, 2000, The Bounty,1991, and Newtown Creek, 2014, oil on wood. He has treated environmental themes for decades and had a major retrospective at the Smithsonian in 2010. These works powerfully portray his deep concerns about fragile ecosystems and the threat of human civilization. Click on the images for more information.
The Tempestry Project, (2017-) a collaborative fiber arts project that was started in Anacortes by Emily McNeil and Marissa and Justin Connelly. "Temperature + tapestry," these knitted or crocheted strips record temperature data for every day of a year in a certain location, and cumulatively display global warming. Collaborators by the hundreds have joined worldwide. For each kit sold, donations are given to climate causes.
Alisa Singer, Transportation Biggest Emitter, part of Environmental Graphiti series (2014-) Beautiful bold colors and abstract treaments transform graphs and charts related to climate change. The data sources are posted next to the paintings for comparison. She says "Art makes the science more accessible, just as science makes the art more meaningful."
Jon Ching, Cache, 2020 oil on wood. His surreal wildlife paintings reflect his fascination with symbiosis. This eagle feathered with seaweed, holding a monarch butterfly in its beak, seems to glare and protect its piles and piles of food on a lifeless shore.To me, it evokes a theme of over-consumption. He says "my approach is to explore the beauty of nature to spark reverence and appreciation in hopes that it leads to concern and protection." He donates work to multiple nature conservation causes.