2D Visual Arts

 

Joyce Yamada, Shadow-nine Forest, 1991, and Rainforest Green Stream, 2003, acrylic on canvas.

"My interest in ecology and the environment began in earnest in the early 1990s after pivotal trips to the temperate rainforests of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Flying over Oregon on the approach to Seattle, and then driving from there to the rainforests revealed how utterly rapaciously we are destroying our forests. I was struck by the geometric patterns of logging – huge rectangles of forest had been cut out of still intact forest growing on steep hillsides.  Shado-nine forest closely mirrored the actual landscape of forests that were deracinated, literally cut off from their roots, floating in a human-induced wasteland. Green Stream came directly from a visit to the Hoh National Forest.  A beautiful, complex stream meandered through old growth forest, the entire scene a beautiful green, the air clean and enlivening. This painting was a straightforward celebration of a specific place."

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Edward Burkynsky, Oil Bunkering no. 2, Niger Delta, Nigeria, 2016. Award-winning Canadian photographer. "This aerial image shows the results of a process known as "bunkering", where poor communities siphon off oil from the pipelines of multinational corporations extracting their country's national resources. The regular spillages of crude oil and toxic by-products from their jerry-rigged micro-refineries pollute the delta waters and surrounding land, which is also logged and burned.  It is a powerful image of ecological devastation that uses the seductive lushness of digital color photography to show the possibly irreversible damage that man has done to the environment." In 2018, with filmmakers Nicholas de Pencier and Jennifer Baichwal, he released the documentary ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch.

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Barbara Bogacka, Blue Dragon Cave, photograph, 2020Melting Icelandic glacial caves. "I want to show what is so fragile, unique, and valuable, and what we must try to save.  The flickering light and the structure and color of ice make the caves alive and mysterious. The caves I visited in 2018 and in 2019 on the edges of Breiðamerkurjökull do not exist anymore. They disappeared together with the retreating glacier. The creation of caves and under-glacial tunnels is a dynamic process and new ones form while the old ones change or disappear.  Blue Dragon Cave and Sapphire Cave have rather small chances of surviving the summer in their current forms. I could see the meltdown occurring rapidly over my three annual visits to the same area." 

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Jill Pelto, Currents, (Time Magazine Cover special issue "One Last Chance" July 2020) watercolor, and Plotting Spruce History (in Scandinavia), 2021,watercolorPelto "incorporates scientific rdata into her watercolors, often in the field, and weaves visual narratives that reveal the benefits and costs of human impacts on this planet." She has conducted research on the changes in glacier depths with her glaciologist father Mauri Pelto in WA's North Cascades. Her work has been recognized in Smithsonian, PBS NewsHour, and National Geographic, and incorporated into school curriculaThe Time cover image incorporates key global climate data indicators: CO2 emissions (1880-present), average global temperatures (1880-present), renewable energy consumption (1965-present), land ice volume (1960-present) and sea level rise (1880-present).   

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Elena Soterakis, Valvoline Beach, 2019, (Ecocide series), oil and collage on panel.  

"Soterakis seduces the viewer by replicating the color palette and style of Romantic and American Impressionist painters—first rendering landscapes in oil paint, then harshly disrupting them with cut-and-collaged consumer waste. This dysfunctional marriage of oil and paper is a purposeful choice, as Soterakis’ work comments on the disastrous effects of the oil industry and poor waste management.  “My art is a call to action against our throwaway society and extractive industries in an era of environmental neglect,” she explains in her artist statement.

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Aida Muluneh, Knowing the Way to Tomorrow and Star Shine, Moon Glow, 2018. Staged photographs commissioned by Water Aid.  In these extremely striking images set in the desert of Dallol, Afar, Ethiopia, Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh highlights the issue of water shortage and lack of access to clean water for millions of people around the world, with a particularly devastating impact on rural women and girls. Muluneh incorporates traditional elements from her culture like clothing and body paint "to raise awareness and advocate for changes in regions with water scarcity." The vivid reds, blues, and yellows reference Ethiopian church wall paintings.

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Anonymous (?) Our Planet Has Two Lungs One is Green the Other is Blue, digital image, 2021?  I've seen this a lot on Twitter, etc., but cannot find out who the artist is.  Help, anyone? In any case, I find it to be extremely effective in conveying its message--that healthy oceans and green spaces are as essential to us as our own vital organs .

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Joan Sullivan, Wind Turbines in Quebec, 2011. Canadian renewable energy photographer and writer (contributor to Drawdown and to the Artists and Climate Change blog). Here, three workers standing in the top of the base tower await the arrival of the mid section of the turbine tower during construction of the Mont Louis wind farm in the Gaspesie region of Quebec, Canada. "Since 2009, Joan has found her artistic voice on the construction sites of utility-scale wind and solar projects.  Her goal is to help others visualize what a post-carbon world will look like."

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Nyaba Leon Ouedraogo, In the Hell of Copper, 2011, photograph.

An African documentary photographer from Burkina Faso, he produces gripping photographs of the "suffering endured by people faced with the social and environmental consequences of our consumerist way of life." "Taken in Ghana, one of the main dumping grounds for e-waste from Europe and the United States, where young Ghaneans poison themselves as they search for precious metals from amongst the thousands of computers piled up in rubbish dumps."

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Lauren Boilini,  As Above,So Below, blue ink on watercolor paper, commissioned for Tacoma Ocean Fest 2019. A Seattle artist and open-water swimmer, often in Puget Sound. “The water is remarkably clear, especially in winter, so I’ve been able to experience all kinds of wildlife in their natural habitat.” "This is her tribute to the world's oceans and inhabitants under urgent threat from pollution, overfishing, coastal development and global warming."

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Elena Raceala, Where Are We Going #1, 2021.  photograph.

This Romanian amateur photographer works as a nurse in Constanta. She calls this series "my new environmental project. Humanity, only a small part of nature.  Strange weather, I was inspired by the mysterious and dramatic fog that came over these mountains and over us."  It was a summer of apocalyptic floods and landslides in Europe.  "You can't help but wonder-- where are we going...what will humanity do?"

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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.  Sept. 4 she took this picture of golfers carrying on calmly with a raging inferno right behind them.  "In the pantheon of visual metaphors for America today, tweeted writer and producer David Simon, (The Wire), this is the money shot."

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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."

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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!):

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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."

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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."

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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.

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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."

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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. 

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rokkinvisual, Global Warning, published by DeviantArt (an online art community) 2010. A poster in their CoolClimate Art Contest by this talented Indonesian graphic artist.  

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Celeste Byers, Justice First2018. 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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.  

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