The ecoartspace blog features artist profiles and interviews, as well as writings on ecological systems. We are interested in presenting work that our members 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 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
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  • Monday, April 22, 2024 10:03 AM | Anonymous


    April 22, 2024

    This week we recognize Margaret LeJeune, and her decade plus photo-based art practice focused on climate.

    The Female Mariners Project, 2013-2018 (above) investigates the lives of women who live and work on the water. Fueled by research into alternative living situations and environmentally conscious housing, this project started as an exploration of live-aboard sailors but has grown into a multidimensional conversation on gendered space, environmental concerns, and cultural tradition. These images of female captains, crew, watermen, and shipwrights challenge gendered maritime tropes such as the doting and passive mermaid and the dangerous siren.

     click images for more info

    Dart, 2018 (above) is a collaborative video work created with South African artist Hanien Conradie. This film documents a ritual that involves writing poetry on the surface of a river. Exploring notions of communal and ancestral pain as well as the power of the landscape to transform and heal, this work weaves together drone footage with Afrikaans and English audio recordings. This work was exhibited as part of #IAMWATER, an ecoartspace billboard exhibition in New York City in 2021. Dart was created as part of The Ephemeral River - Global Nomadic Art Project sponsored by the Center for Contemporary Art and The Natural World (CCANW), Science Walden / UNIST, YATOO, and the Korean Cultural Centre UK.

    The images in LeJeune's Shifting Halo series, 2019 (above) document how climate change and logging practices are impacting the Boreal Forest. This woodland biome, also known as the Emerald Halo, circles the northern portion of the globe. The photographic works draw attention to the damage caused by clearcutting, including the release of carbon stored in the soil and trees, and the destruction of resident bird habitat. Sound waves of Boreal Chickadee calls punctuate several images in this series to silently echo the depleting number of avian species in this shifting landscape. Shifting Halo was created as part of an artist residency at the University of Notre Dame’s Environmental Research Center (UNDERC).

    LeJeune's durational work, Thoreau’s Sink, 2022 (above) consists of sixty-six lumen prints arranged in a grid pattern. Made over the course of a week-long artist residency at Trout Lake Research Station, this piece documents the species present at Crystal Bog on unfixed photographic paper. These pastel, ephemeral illustrations of mosses, plants, and trees will fade over time. This time-based work is a quiet plea for the protection, conservation, and restoration of one of our most precious landscapes.

    Thirteen Hours to Fall, 2018 - present (below) examines the climate crisis through investigations of contemporary and future littoral zones. This multi-media work includes collage, salted paper prints, video, and sculptural photographic objects. These works ask the viewer to bear witness to the complex history of the mid-Atlantic coast, a landscape dramatically altered by the timber industry, plantation farming practices, and climate change. This interdisciplinary and intersectional project draws from environmental history, geography, and maritime traditions including mapping and way-finding in an effort to define our relationship to this rapidly changing landscape.

    Margaret LeJeune is an image-maker, educator, and curator originally from Rochester, New York (USA). She was named the 2023 Woman Science Photographer of the Year by the Royal Photographic Society. Anchored in photography, her creative practice marries art, science, and environmental studies. Her work has been exhibited internationally including exhibitions at The Griffin Museum of Photography (USA), Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts (USA), The Center for Fine Art Photography (USA), ARC Gallery (USA), Circe Gallery Cape Town (South Africa), Science Cabin (South Korea), and Umbrella Arts (USA) and is in several collections including the Center for Art+Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art. LeJeune has been invited to participate in several residency programs which foster collaboration between the arts and sciences including the Global Nomadic Art Project, University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center, Trout Lake Research Station, Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation - Ives Lake Field Station, and the 2023 Changing Climate Residency at Santa Fe Art Institute. Her work has been published in numerous publications including Lenscratch, Slate, and Culture, Community, and Climate: conversations and emergent praxis from press. She is a founding member of the Women's Environmental Photography Collective and the Vice-Chair of the Society of Photographic Education (SPE).

  • Monday, April 15, 2024 10:14 AM | Anonymous


    April 15, 2024

    This week we recognize Rachel Frank, and her practice combining sculpture, video, and performance to explore our relationships and shifting perspectives towards non-human life forms.

    Sleep of Reason (above) was a series of performances (2010, 2011, 2015) borrowing narratives in Francisco Goya’s Los Caprichos to examine the theatrical/performance implications of abuse as depicted in the Abu Ghraib photographs. Evoking both living sculpture and cinematic picture, staged tableaux vivants featuring beaded masks and sculptural forms are illuminated briefly between almost film-like cuts or void periods of silhouetted blackness, allegorically suggesting the recurrent darkness and repressed animality that underlies the rational and enlightened society of today.

     click images for more info

    In Frank's video, Vapors, 2017 (above) performers wear woolly rhinoceros and woolly mammoth masks appearing in the forests, former mining caves, and ruins of our contemporary landscape, carrying out a philosophical dialogue that connects the figure of the ruin to environmental issues and, more broadly, man’s relationship with nature. The woolly mammoth and woolly rhinoceros are two animals from the last wave of extinctions of Megafauna at the end of the Ice Age, who serve both as mirrors into the past and reminders of the crisis facing related species today. Through a split-screen, the creatures uncannily mirror each other in out of synch movements, sharing both their displacement from their proper epoch and their isolation as the last of their kind.

    For two weeks in June and July of 2016, Frank was artist-in-the wilderness at The Innoko National Wildlife Refuge in Western Alaska. The Alaska Park Service offers unique stewardship-based artist residencies that work with parks and wildlife refuges and grant access to remote and protected areas, which most people do not get to see firsthand. The Refuge was significant to her projects with Rewilding because of the 2015 reintroduction of a population of Wood Bison into the Innoko region, which marked the first time in over a century this species has lived in the United States.

    Sentinel Offering Kernos: Woodcock, Oysters, Lichen, 2021 (above) is a large-scale ceramic interpretation of an ancient Greek ringed offering vessel, whose cups held offerings of grain. In Frank's interpretation, the kernos’ cups are envisioned in the forms of three local indicator species, whose health or absence offer early signals of environmental change. When filled with grain or water, birds and insects can find nourishment here. The kernos offers a haven, encouraging new ceremonies of ritual and community, inclusive of the local Greek community in Astoria, whose ancestors originated the kernos form.

    Sentinel Lekythos: Ibis (Unraveling Installation), 2023 (below) is also an offering vessel, a ceramic interpretation of the lekythos, which is a narrow ancient Eurasian vessel associated with funeral rites and loss. This piece considers several sentinel or indicator species, whose health or absence offer an early indication of environmental changes to an ecosystem such as pollution or climate change. Ibis migrate annually through New York City. As a sentinel species, they are susceptible to climate changes to their habitats and the accumulation of pollutants due to their feeding habits in coastal sediments. Straddling both the land and the sea, mangroves protect against erosion and storm surges while providing a protective ecosystem for fish and crustaceans. Ceramic oyster shells sculpted to resemble talismans of climate protection are included in this piece. Oyster beds which are actively being rebuilt in NYC are an important filter species which clean water and can protect coastlines during extreme weather events. Surrounding the offering vessel are hand-designed and printed fabric, hand-cast glass and bronze depicting parts of birds, plants, and cast body parts.

    Rachel Frank's practice combines sculpture, video, and performance to explore our relationships and shifting perspectives towards non-human life forms, investigating how past species, rituals, and objects can shape our environmental future. Her current work explores liminality in nature: air and land, ocean and shoreline, the migratory movements of tidal and pelagic species. The transformative malleability of materials such as bronze, glass, and clay, all of which undergo a process of heating, melting, and liquefying before reaching their final states, serve to reinforce in the viewer the changes in nature and state. Through use of these mediums, her practice explores the radical restoration of species and landscapes through “Rewilding” and more broadly, both the resiliency of ecosystems and their fragility. Frank lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She is the recipient of grants from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, The Puffin Foundation, and Franklin Furnace Archive. Her performance pieces have been shown at HERE, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Select Fair, and The Bushwick Starr in NYC, The Marran Theater at Lesley University, Franconia Sculpture Park (MN), and at The Watermill Center in collaboration with Robert Wilson. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include MOCA Tucson (AZ), the SPRING/BREAK Art Show (NYC), Thomas Hunter Projects at Hunter College (NYC), Standard Space (Sharon, CT), and Geary Contemporary (NYC). She works as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator at the Wild Bird Fund in Manhattan.

    Featured images (top to bottom):  © Rachel Frank, Sleep of Reason, 2010 2011, 2015, Performances, Written and Directed by Rachel Frank, Sets and Costumes by Rachel Frank;Vapors, 2017, Single-channel HD video, 8 minutes, 27 seconds, Written and Directed by Rachel Frank, Performed by Rachel Frank, Ben Lee, and Stephen Tateishi; Rewilding Residency, Innoko National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska; Sentinel Offering Kernos: Woodcock, Oysters, Lichen, 2021, stoneware ceramic, glazes, steel, epoxy, and spray paint with native plant species, 50 x 43 x 44 inches, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY, October 2, 2021 – March 20, 2022;Sentinel Lekythos: Ibis (Unraveling Installation), 2023, stoneware ceramic and glazes, fabric, rope, zip-ties, acrylic rod, bronze, and glass, size variable, approximately 27 x 48 x 32 inches; portrait of the artist.

  • Monday, April 01, 2024 10:21 AM | Anonymous

    April 2024 e-Newsletter for subscribers is here

  • Monday, April 01, 2024 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    Breathing Air that Breathes Back: Visiting Lucia Monge’s “Mientras Una Hoja Respira/ While a Leaf Breathes”
    at Hampshire College, Amherst, MA

    Review by Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein

    Exiting the city to arrive on a peaceful green campus, scattered with students, feels like an entrance into a completely different world. Having been used to stimulation on every corner, I suddenly experienced my body quieting and listening more deeply. It is as if I am tuning into the whispers of leaves fluttering above and the grass pushed towards the earth by my feet. I land in brief conversations with students asking about Lucia Monge’s exhibition on campus. My walk to the gallery is much like a trickling stream finding its way through a rock-studded decline in search of a body of water to join.

    And when I do arrive in this brutalist building and make my way down the stairs, I am struck by the contrast in the linear concrete framing of the gallery compared to the soft, natural structures of Lucia’s sculptures and their accompanying palm trees. Unlike the concrete that surrounds the work, Lucia has created a completely decomposing set of material reflections on stomata. On the wall in writing, the deep relationship between Lucia’s multi-national life as a Peruvian-U.S. American is paired with reflections on vulnerability and the interrelatedness of all beings. This concrete enclosure begins to feel more like a cocoon or the outer walls of a plant cell that protects the complex and delicate structures beneath it. On the wall, it reads:

    “Stomata- the pores through which the plants breathe – exchange air with their environment…The plant risks losing life-giving water when opening … for me, stomata have become portals between life and death.” – Lucia Monge

    Before me, an egg-like structure built with macramé, natural twine, rice paper dyed with turmeric, and straw reeds sits expectantly. Behind a family of palm trees, I am almost voyeuristic in my expedition into the gallery rooms, where I am confronted with larger-than-life representations of a proportionately microscopic subject. The feathery leaves hug my vantage point as the light streams from above. I venture toward the structure, sitting on the ground. Realizing only after changing my perspective that it is both I and the eye that awaits me that are observers of each other. Sands at its base disperse my thoughts as the textured living core lined with turkeytail mushrooms observes my presence as I do this object. I am reminded of my daily exchanges and the vulnerability that Lucia describes: how, when entering the world each day, I also enter into an exchange of give and take, a bartering of water for carbon, that is essential to both living and community. The eye acts as a quiet reminder that what I think I know is only a perspective.

    Turning around, I encounter a dancing river of figures made from bioplastics, turmeric, and logwood-dyed cotton, and recycled paper flying over a delicate island of what I believe is white limestone. They sway in conversation, revealing soft and structured textures based on Lucia’s careful observations of plant cell patterns. Shimmering and welcoming me into the remaining space, I dance around the work, mimicking how the objects dance around each other, revealing new relationships between them. Colors and forms balance and glide as if these static forms were moving. I am met with a calm and playful tone and am surprised to discover an object hidden at the end of this twirling iridescent river.  

    As if exiting a forest enclosure, a family of palm trees shelters a plush object laying on the ground before it. A closed stomata is guarded, yet perhaps the most vulnerable object portrayed. Surrounding the piece are macramé  dream-weavers capturing my thoughts and impressions. I stop short and allow an aching in my heart to reveal itself, knowing the irony of a soft outer shell that acts as limited armor in guarded times. It is feminine and kind, although closed and protective, so different from the first object, which was open, guarded, but “vulnerable” in a literal sense. Peaceful, like a corpse laid to rest, I remember that all of its materials will reintegrate into the earth and replenish the life-giving soils that nourish us in return. 

    Exiting this meditation on co-existence, I reenter the chilly landscape sprinkled with the beginnings of spring. I am greeted on my way back by a large sign on the wall of a neighboring building that echoes Lucia’s mystical portrayal of the invisible: “To Know is Not Enough.” Sent into the remaining day, I think about the stomata that lives within each of us and the importance of breathing through it all.

  • Monday, March 04, 2024 7:37 AM | Anonymous


    March 4, 2024

    This week we recognize    Madelaine Corbin, and a decade of her  multi-disciplinary works in drawing, fiber arts, installation, sculpture, and writing/prose.

    Artist statement:

    "A fleck of ash, drop of blue, grain of salt, speck of dust, and particle of soil—a constellation of meaning is composed from these elements. My practice earnestly endeavors to listen to, translate, and contextualize the conversation between the vibrancy of matter sensed by our fingertips and the expansive questions cultivated by the equally vast universe around. Spaces that invite wonder and interdisciplinary research coalesce to question the quotidian materials accepted as normal, when few things are actually so. Dirt, salt, and dust are not so simple. Interminable investigations into subterranean histories, values, politics, sciences, fictions, and natural phenomena re-evaluate the inherent meanings embedded in matter[1]. Using my own relationship to ecology[2] rooted in a valley town in Oregon as a starting point, I articulate the complexity and range of relationships to the land beneath our feet, that which once was, and that which will never be." 

     click images for more info

    "My practice is an archaeological[3] journey to unearth, question, and mend the space between home and land, human and non-human, “wild” and “managed” landscapes, and the connection to one another through geographic distance. In a recent series, text, soil, and weeds[4] re-contextualize and de-/re-construct the context of natural materials to better understand notions of home, land, and belonging through the lenses of native, invasive, poisonous, and medicinal characterizations of plants. Metaphors transmit meaning between humans and plants through the il/legality of growing here versus there, there versus here. Text is reversed to decentralize a singular vantage point into many and for many. The desire for a fixed object to exist in perpetuity is both accomplished and evaded as the work realigns with geologic, cyclical, and seasonal time and asks to be tended and maintained while it learns to exist in its own rhythms. The work evolves. The work requires care. At once, the work is both ephemeral and a window into a possible forever."

    "With eco-tragedies already defining the 21st century—the swelling seas losing their blue to acidification, the tone-deaf colonization of terrain beyond repair, the decapitation of mountains for minerals and other resources[5]—how can we rehabilitate communal imagination with urgency? With the information embedded in matter and history, can we speculate about possible futures? If dirt is the common denominator of our shared experience[6], how can it be made not only audible but made mentor[7]? These questions, and the pursuit of their answers, define the trajectory of my practice. It is my sincere hope that together we can learn to read the earth, establish a nonviolent ecological order, and share a vision of the future."


    [1] When listened to, substance dictates significance.

    [2] The etymological root of “ecology” combines house, dwelling, or habitation with the study of (and, specifically, the study of the relationship between living things and their environments). It is through the graying of this space between home and environment that my practice is catalyzed.

    [3] Archaeology in the sense that it is the opposite of industrial construction—as time read backwards. This is a concept articulated best by JB Jackson, writer and sketch artist in landscape design. Lucy Lippard adds contextual notes on this in her book, Undermining: A Wild Ride through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West.

    [4] At least, plants currently considered “weeds” until they prove useful to humans or are reclassified as endangered.

    [5] Lucy Lippard writes of these eco-tragedies in Undermining: A Wild Ride through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West.

    [6] As it has been since long before we listened to it. Rebecca Solnit explains dirt in this way in her collection of essays, As Eve Said to the Serpent.

    [7] “The microcosm as mentor to the macrocosm” is a concept written about by Wendell Berry.

    "The phenomena of everyday magic—things that seem simple—are anything but. Dirt, salt, dust, and blue are immensely complex worlds. My work unfolds these complexities, examines them, and then conceptually stitches them back together. My work exists at the interstice of science, fiber craft, and writing. My goal is to gently mend empathic relationships between the climate crisis and ourselves. Instead of alarmism, softness. Instead of disembodied statistics about the rise of seas and temperature, embodied understanding—putting hands in soil, watching color change in the sun, listening to a cave’s echo. The approach is urgent. It reinstates sensitivity over numbness, listening over being told, hope over apathy."

    Madelaine Corbin        is a multidisciplinary artist based primarily in Oregon in the United States. Corbin received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Fiber and BFA from Oregon State University. Her research-based practice moves fluidly between drawing, writing, sculpture, textiles, and natural dyeing. Corbin’s work is informed by her participation in the New York Arts Practicum, immersive study in Greece, and as an artist-in-residence and research assistant in a chemistry lab where she helped to synthesize and characterize a new blue. Corbin recently authored The Stuff of Everyday Magic, a book about her research adventures into the color blue. Her work has been supported in the form of residencies at the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, The Bloedel Reserve Creative Residency in Research, Prairie Ronde Artist Residency, Pine Meadow Artist Residency, and The League of Stars. Corbin’s work has been recognized by awards including a fellowship to attend Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in 2019, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz Emerging Artist Award bestowed by Cranbrook Academy of Art, Honorable Mention for the 2020 Dorothy Waxman International Textile Design Award, and the 2020 Redmond Design Prize. In 2022-2023, Corbin was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue a research and arts project about textile traditions and contemporary craft in Greece.

    Featured images (top to bottom): ©Madelaine Corbin, Colony Collapse Disorder, 2014-2015; Mobile Color Laboratory, 2016-2017; From Above, For Below (we share a center), 2018; Did They Not Tell You That You Are A Protector, 2019; A Moon In A Meadow, In A Moon, 2023; portrait of the artist.

  • Friday, March 01, 2024 10:06 AM | Anonymous

    March 2024 e-Newsletter for subscribers is here

  • Friday, March 01, 2024 9:11 AM | Anonymous

    Krista Leigh Steinke, Still-frame (00:01:26) from Sun Notations, 2018 (excerpt),10 min. theatre version | 16 min. installation loop

    Bright Horizons from Celestial Views

    Krista Leigh Steinke and Erika Blumenfeld on the upcoming Transmissions event in Austin Texas and the eclipse on April 8th

    interviews by Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein

    Krista Leigh Steinke and Erika Blumenfeld elaborate on their individual relationships as artists to the sun and the moon, the cosmos. Whether the sun itself becomes the manifestation of time and spatial dimensions as it does in Krista’s work, or a larger expression of deep inquiry and interrelatedness across the atmospheric expanse as in Erika’s work, both artists share an intricate understanding of the “somatic point of departure” that the events will capture. Both working with photographic imaging and documentation, their reflections interplay the illuminating shared space that the events will foster with deep contemplation.

    Krista and Erika were invited by ecoartspace to review artworks submitted by Texas artists and other members coming to Texas for the eclipse, for inclusion in Transmissions. Their own work will also be on display. 

    Transmissions is a one-day event that will take place on Saturday, April 6th from 11am to 8pm, at Canopy Austin, at 916 Springdale Road, in Austin, Texas.

    For more information GO HERE

    Krista Leigh Steinke, Sunspots and Slides, 2017-ongoing, archival pigment prints or sub-dye aluminum prints, sizes vary

    What are you most looking forward to during the upcoming Transmissions events?

    Krista: It will be interesting to observe the nuanced interplay among the diverse artworks showcased in the Transmissions exhibition, which will definitely inspire various conversations throughout the day. Mostly, I’m excited to be part of a community of artists, academics, enthusiasts, and the general Texas audience, all united in their shared interest in engaging in a meaningful dialogue centered around the sun and solar/lunar phenomena.

    Erika: What I’m most looking forward to is seeing all the selected artworks together and in communication with each other in the Transmissions exhibition, especially as a meditation on and celebration of the total solar eclipse that will occur over Austin skies two days after the ecoartspace pop-up event.

    The artworks, in a way, share individual methods of having received a transmission. In thinking of light transmission specifically, and the conveyance of how light acts during an eclipse event, we, in essence, become the medium through which the light passes. In this way, the artworks together also become a conceptual act of transmitting a response back to the sun.

    Krista Leigh Steinke, from: Time Scraps From the Universe, 2020 - in-progress

    Quite a transmission in itself! Krista, your pinhole photographs also reflect on being a transmissions medium between our planet and the sun. For example, in your work Sun Notations and Sun Mapping you track the movements of the planet around the sun to reveal interconnectedness across space. How do you relate to this moment of transition at the eclipse?

    Krista: The mystery of light and the passage of time is a thread that runs through much of my work. My video “Sun Notations” for example, that will be featured in the exhibition, took over five years to create. The experimental video animates over 50 pinhole solar-graphs that capture the pathway of the sun rising and setting over time, with exposures that lasted one hour up to an entire year. My homemade cameras, which sometimes contain multiple pinholes, are rotated throughout the exposure, so the rhythm of the sun’s movement becomes like a mark-making system, similar to the routine of crossing days off a calendar. Some of the exposures were taken in Texas and some in New York State. So, in this work, temporal and spatial dimensions literally expand, merge, and overlap. Incidentally, one of the animations in this piece was created during the 2017 eclipse.

    Undoubtedly, the 2024 eclipse symbolizes a unique juncture in the continuum of time. In April, the actual eclipse of the sun will unfold over just a few minutes and these few minutes will not occur again for another twenty years here in North America. I love thinking about how on this day, people will be pausing from their daily routine to focus on the sun. The event, for me, is a gentle reminder that we all share the same star at the center of our solar system. The sun is a thread that ties our past to our present and an important reminder that we are part of something much larger.

    Erika Blumenfeld, Light Leaks Variation No. 13 (meditation on evolution), 1999, 56 4×5-inch Type 59 Polaroid film, 72 clear pushpins, 31.25″ x 34.25″, Installation view: Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, Oregon, Solo Exhibition, 2001, Collection: The Polaroid Collection

    That is beautiful. In fact, this common thread is a theme in both of your work, though your documentation approaches differ. Erika, you take a research-based documentary approach to examining natural phenomena such as this eclipse. What natural spaces are you taking inspiration from at this time? And how are you approaching them?

    Erika: Our ability to empathize with our ecological spaces is only as deep as we are willing to be fully present within them. To listen, to feel, and to sense them. While the idea of ecological archiving may at first sound like a scientific pursuit, humans physiologically evolved in relationship to these natural ecologies, and our interrelatedness is activated through our senses and embodied experiences. For me, this connectedness has material, experiential, and spiritual grounding. Archiving the ecological requires that one is part of that ecology with all our senses as witness.

    My work draws inspiration from the endless variations of natural phenomena that we can encounter in our natural world, and this curiosity and wonder extends first to our Earth and then to everything our planet is connected to across the cosmos.

    Erika Blumenfeld, Detail of Plate No. A12855 (Large Magellanic Cloud), From the portfolio Tracing Luminaries, 2022, Paper: 14 3/4 x 17 inches, Plate: 11 ¼ x 9 inches, Edition of 8

    My current projects are investigating these topics in multiple ways and through diverse mediums. My primary focus currently is with my Earthlight project, in which I am building a custom imaging system to send to the International Space Station to image the light of Earth from space and create a holistic portrait of Earth as light. With the Earthlight project, my goal is to tell a story of our world written in the language of light. Every planet has its own light signature, called albedo.

    Albedo is the direct relationship between the planet’s material composition and its home star. Earth’s luminosity holds the literal and poetic imprint of everything our Sun’s incoming rays have interacted with—everything that makes up our dynamic, interconnected biosphere that we are a part of. The project is an art, science, technology, and space activities collaboration that will produce albedo image data to benefit climate science and to create visualization artworks for the public. I am also working on new Light Recordings works documenting the upcoming total solar eclipse as well as the aurora borealis in the Arctic. Finally, I’ve been supporting NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Sample Return Mission by leading the high-resolution archival documentation imaging of the remarkable rocks from the asteroid Bennu that have recently been returned to Earth.

    Erika Blumenfeld, Astromaterials 3D project, a virtual library for exploration and research of NASA’s space rock collections (Credit: NASA/Astromaterials 3D)

    Wow, I had no idea about this! That is very exciting.  It also includes topics of both light and time that play important roles in your practice as well, Krista. How will you interpret the events?

    Krista: This relates closely to my choice to work in lens- based media. The word “Photography” means to draw with light, a recurring concept in my work. I am interested in how the sun and photo media are both conduits for light and time. Still photography can capture a single moment while moving images have the ability to document or record an experience. As mentioned above with “Sun Notations”, I feel like exciting results can happen when these qualities merge.

    On the day of the eclipse, I am planning on setting up 4-5 cameras that will be tasked to take timelapse videos, pinhole exposures, and sequenced still images of the eclipse. Most likely, the results will end up somehow combined into one project. Looking forward to seeing all the magnificent images from around the globe that will be captured that day.

    Thank you both for a mind-expanding interview! I look forward to following the upcoming event and different interpretations that are inspired by them. 

  • Monday, February 26, 2024 8:27 AM | Anonymous


    February 26, 2024

    This week we recognize Ann Rosenthal and her projects which represent milestones in a 40-year career in activist, community-centered, and environmentally engaged art practice.

    Infinity City, 1991-2002 (above) consisted of three installations including ANNIVERSARY, SHADOW, and 2001, exploring life in the atomic age and its legacy of nuclear waste. In 1991, Rosenthal's partner Stephen Moore took a job on the island of Guam, a U.S. island territory in Micronesia. While visiting him, they traveled to Tinian Island where the first atomic bombs were launched and dropped on Japan. This somber place and its ghosts spoke to them and compelled them to embark on a 10-year nuclear pilgrimage, taking Rosenthal and her partner to Japan and key historic nuclear sites in the western U.S. Over ten years, the project was exhibited in 12 venues across the U.S. An extensive website documented their travels, provided a chronology of humankind's relationship to the natural world (40,000 B.C. - 170,000 A.D.), and engaged communities impacted by Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

     click images for more info

    River Vernacular, 2003-04 (above) was a collaboration with Rosenthal and Steffi Domike. Inspired by the Hudson River Museum’s historic postcard collection, each of eight oversized postcards interpreted the social and natural histories of Yonkers, NY in relation to the Saw Mill and Hudson Rivers. The artists soaked cotton cloth in the river adjacent to where each photograph was taken, mapping the health of the Saw Mill as it flows from its source, through Yonkers, and into the Hudson. This work was included in the exhibition Imaging the River, curated by Amy Lipton for the Hudson River Museum.

    Moving Targets, 2013-15 (above) was an exhibition that marked the 2014 centenary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon, the most abundant bird in North America that was hunted to extinction within a period of 40 years. Moving Targets paralleled the plight of the passenger pigeon with the coerced migrations of Rosenthal's and Domike's mothers' families to North America in the wake of the pogroms in the Ukraine. While the ships, trains and telegraphs made it possible for millions of Jews to escape persecution, they also made possible the tracking and plunder of the passenger pigeon. The project linked both the artists’ families and the birds to ask why some groups——whether human or animal——are reduced to targets for extinction, whether intended or as a consequence of ignorance and greed. Works in the installation include collage, painting, maps and photos to tell the story of migration, loss, and survival. The project became part of a larger, citywide effort to commemorate the centenary, which included many cultural events and programs. Dr. Ruth Fauman-Fichman researched the artists’ family histories.

    LUNA (Learning Urban Nature through Art), 2016-2023 (above) was an ecoliteracy and visual arts program initiated and directed by Ann Rosenthal. It was designed to foster an appreciation for urban nature through hands-on art making for children, youth, adults, and families. LUNA was an outgrowth of a partnership Rosenthal developed with the Steel Valley Trail Council (SVTC), to educate youth about their riverfronts and trails, resulting in hand-painted banners that went up along the SVT. In 2016, she launched LUNA and developed an after-school program with the Kingsley Association, based on the earlier SVTC program. LUNA continued as an on-demand program, partnering with environmental and community organizations.  In 2022, Rosenthal and collaborator JoAnn Moran were commissioned by the Bloomfield Development Corporation to design and execute two asphalt art murals, reflecting the natural features of the adjacent Friendship Park in Rosenthal’s neighborhood of Bloomfield in Pittsburgh, PA. Similar to prior LUNA programs, ecoliteracy was a centerpiece of the project, which included bird and tree walks to engage residents with the flora and fauna in their backyards. The community was invited to submit drawings that the artists incorporated into the final mural designs. Over 70 people of all ages helped paint the murals over two weekends.

    The Disparaged Sublime: Salt Marsh Nova Scotia #2, 2022 (below) is a work which represents Rosenthal's recent return to her creative roots in painting and printmaking, celebrating her love of color, gesture, and form in nature and art. She is particularly drawn to places where water and land meet——fragile ecosystems that we endanger through ignorance, desire, and greed. Rosenthal strives to make such places visible and valued for their beauty, complexity, and evolutionary brilliance.

    Ann Rosenthal  is an artist, educator, and writer, who has interrogated the intersections of nature and culture through a range of environmental issues for over four decades. Her recent creative and professional accomplishments include: Artist-in-Residence, HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, Oregon (2018); Co-Curator for “Crafting Conversations: A Call and Response to Our Changing Climate,” Contemporary Craft BNY Mellon Gallery (2019); awarded “Woman of Environmental Art” from PennFuture (2020); one of four editors for Ecoart in Action: Activities, Case Studies, and Provocations for Classrooms and Communities (New Village Press, 2022); selected to design and execute two asphalt art murals with collaborator JoAnn Moran for Friendship Park in Pittsburgh (2022-23). Rosenthal received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 1999. She teaches classes and workshops through Osher Lifelong Learning/University of Pittsburgh and Winslow Art Center.

    Featured images (top to bottom): ©Ann Rosenthal, 2001: PLUTONIUM, MARCH 28, 1941, collaboration with Stephen Moore comprised of digital posters marking nuclear anniversaries in 2001 and distributed via email; River Vernacular, 2003-04 (installation View), collaboration with Steffi Domike including digital prints, stained muslin, and acrylic paint; Moving Targets: An Exhibition of Extinction and Survival, 2013-15 (installation view), collaboration with Steffi Domike including mixed media on cradled wood panels, MDO map sections, wood panels range from 6 x 6 to 9 x 12 inches and maps maximum 48 inches in height; LUNA: Asphalt Art Murals, 2022-23, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; The Disparaged Sublime: Salt Marsh Nova Scotia #2, 2022, golden open acrylics on cradled wood panel, 8 x 10 inches; portrait of the artist by Michele McFadden.

  • Monday, February 19, 2024 10:39 AM | Anonymous


    February 19, 2024

    This week we recognize  Judith Selby Lang, and her works made since 1999 in collaboration with her partner Richard Lang, working with plastic debris collected along the Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California.

    Unaccountable Proclivities, 2001 (above), combines the colors of the ocean plastic that mimics and compliments Fiesta®Ware plates. It was an unaccountable proclivity that moved them to create these arrangements. By carefully collecting and "curating" the bits of plastic, they fashion them into works of art that matter-of-factually show, with minimal artifice, the material as it is. The viewer is often surprised that this colorful stuff is the thermoplastic junk of our throwaway culture. As they deepened their practice they found, like archeologists, that each bit of what they find opens into a pinpoint look at the whole of human culture. Each bit has a story to tell.

     click images for more info

    Unintended Consequences (above) was a series of photographs presented at the U.S. Art in Embassies, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, September 2010 - June 2012, organized by the US Art in Embassies program and was a collaboration between Ambassador John Bass and Assistant Curator Claire D'Alba.

    for here or to go?, 2021 (above) was a large scale installation presented at Lands End, at the former Cliff House, San Francisco, a project of the FOR-SITE Foundation. In the kitchen, the steam tables were filled with white plastic and white ceramic plates were piled with white beach plastic. All of the plastic dished up was found only on 1000 yards of Kehoe Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore. It wasn’t left by negligent picnickers. Most of it has been at sea a long time before washing ashore. When the common use of plastic found its way into our lives during WWII, plastic was touted as an exciting new material that would revolutionize and indeed, it has provided new hips and knees, allowing for unbelievable medical advances. But we’ve been inundated with “convenience” and a throw-away ethos. In the swirl of debris, from food shopping to consumer goods, plastic is the unseen background of daily living. Besides the blight of plastic itself, a mad scientist's brew of toxic chemicals is leaching into our bodies. We have learned that every human being has traces of plastic polymers in their bloodstream. That’s the bad news we live with these days. There really is no choice when asked "for here or to go?"

    Ride-On, 2024 (above) featuring all-black plastic and a toy ATV, was exhibited recently in the exhibition “Far away is NOW” at 120710 gallery in Berkeley. "It is a complex reminder of our actions and their consequences on our environment,” says Francis Baker, the exhibit’s curator. “Another revelation occurs when one realizes that this is just the all-black plastic. The artists are using this to symbolize oil. It also amazes me to think about how much plastic there is that washes up, that they collect, for them to have a pile this big of fully black pieces. This makes me realize what we as a society are doing to our environment.”

    all of it (well, alot of it anyway), 2023 (below) was presented by FOR-SITE’s The Guardhouse project at Fort Mason, San Francisco, California, summer 2023. After nearly a quarter century of collaboration the Lang's excavated their two-ton collection of beach-found plastic objects to showcase a sampling of “all of it” so they might see our consumer choices reflected in their materials. This assorted thermoplastic junk-treasure dating back to as early as 1948 washed in from the Pacific Ocean onto one beach, a .6-mile stretch of the Point Reyes National Seashore, 50 miles north of San Francisco. The installation confronted the artists with evidence of this material continuing to amass not just in coastal deposits, but inside our bodies, and in the geological record of our time on planet earth. "all of it" was presented in partnership with Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture.

    Judith Selby Lang, along with her partner Richard Lang, have rambled 1000 meters of tide line on Kehoe Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California, to gather plastic debris washing out of the Pacific Ocean and have collected over two tons of material. Their artwork has been featured in over seventy exhibitions in galleries and museums; educational and science centers including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artist Windows, the United Nations World Environment Day, the Cummings Gallery at Stanford University, and the University of San Francisco. Exhibition venues include the California Academy of Sciences, Sausalito's Marine Mammal Center, The Oakland Museum, Hong Kong's Ocean Film Festival. They were cited as co-authors in a report from the University of Tokyo about concentrations of pollutants in plastic pellets published in the 2009 Marine Pollution Bulletin. TV segments have included appearances on the PBS Newshour, The Travel Channel, Wowow Tokyo and The Today Show. In talks about the project they have appeared at the Newseum in Washington, DC, The Dallas Art Museum, California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Oakland Museum, Oxbow School in Napa, CA, and California College of the Arts in SF. Their projects have been supported by the Feigenbaum Nii Foundation, the Arts and Healing Network and the Open Circle Foundation. Plastic Forever- Finding Meaning in the Mess is the working title for their forthcoming book about their art and plastic adventures.

    Featured images (top to bottom): ©Judith Selby Lang with Richard Lang, Unaccountable Proclivities, 2001; Unintended Consequences, photography exhibition at the U.S. Art in Embassies, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, September 2010 - June 2012; or here or to go? at Lands End at the former Cliff House, San Francisco, California, a FOR-SITE Foundation project, 11/07/21- 3/27/22; Ride-On, 2024, at 120710 gallery, Berkeley, California, January 2024; “all of it (well, alot of it anyway)” for FOR-SITE’s The Guardhouse project at Fort Mason, San Francisco, June 24 - August 31, 2023; portrait of the artists.

  • Monday, February 05, 2024 3:00 PM | Anonymous


    February 5, 2024

    This week we recognize  Kay Westhues, and her ongoing photography work documenting the changing landscapes of rural life in the Midwest.

    Fourteen Places to Eat, 2004-2010 (above) was inspired by my memories of growing up on a farm in Walkerton, Indiana, and observing first hand the shifting cultural identity that has occurred over time and through changing economic development. When I moved back to Walkerton as an adult in 2001, one of my biggest complaints was that there were practically no places to eat out. So I was happy when news arrived that a new restaurant was opening there. Imagine my surprise when I read a letter to the editor in the local paper that stated we already had enough places to eat. The writer counted a total of fourteen places to eat, which included four restaurants, three gas stations, four bars, a truck stop, a convenience mart, and a bowling alley. This letter was published during the beginning of my project portraying small-town life, and it gave the series its name.

     click images for more info

    Westhues' Animal Swap Meet series, 2008- (above) documents the people, animals and places where humans buy, sell or trade animals in an open-air, flea-market-style setting. The most commonly sold animals are chickens and other birds, rabbits, pigs, reptiles, and dogs.Westhues is drawn to these places because they reflect the rural practices of small-scale subsistence farming and our complex relationship with the more-than-human species we live with.


    For The Portage Path, 2015 (above), was commissioned by the Snite Museum of Art (now the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art) to commemorate the City of South Bend, Indiana's 150th anniversary. Kay focused on a portage path that linked the St. Joseph River to the Kankakee River which had been significant in the lives of people in North America for hundreds of years. This trail was the only overland segment of an ancient water route between the Great Lakes region and the Gulf of Mexico. The course was first established by Native Americans and then used by the French explorers and traders who traveled from Detroit to New Orleans. “I was fascinated by the idea that this area had been the site of cross-country travel and trade for such a long period of time as I am by the trail’s almost total disappearance from our landscape. As there was no actual trail to photograph, I decided to suggest the idea of a pathway in each of the images. They were taken in the approximate area of the original route, and I did not try to conceal the human-made changes that have taken place along it. I want these photographs to remind us that the history of South Bend did not begin in 1865; people were living in this region for hundreds of years previously and their knowledge and use of the land were directly responsible for the location of this city.


    Wabash River Soundmaps, 2019-2020 (above) is a participatory audio project about The Wabash River, the major drainage system in Indiana, amassing its water from streams and rivers from the northeast to the southwest corner of the state. Thanks to two IAC Arts in the Parks grants, I visited three state parks along the river: Ouabache State Park and Mississinewa Lake and Salamonie Lake State Recreation Areas. As an artist in residence in 2019 and 2020, I made field recordings in the parks and in their surrounding communities and ecosystems. I also held workshops where participants recorded the seasonal sounds of the park, using digital recording equipment. All the sounds we recorded were added to the project soundmap. This activity is made possible with support by the Indiana Arts Commission, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and Sweetwater Sound Inc.

    Well Stories, 2011 (below), and The Specialness of Springs, 2021 are long-term explorations of roadside springs in the Midwest that are used as public water sources. This project is made possible, in part, with support from the Indiana Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. This work examines roadside springs in and near my home state of Indiana. Traditionally, these water sources functioned as part of the public commons, freely accessed by travelers or those in need before municipal water systems were available. Some springs have been flowing for over a century and have played a central role in colonialization and Western expansion. The state once contained hundreds of springs in the public commons; today only a few dozen provide a safe water supply. These are still visited by individuals who collect the water out of preference or necessity. They are sites where geography, history, public policy, and public health intersect.


    Kay Westhues  is an artist, photographer and folklorist interested in documenting the ways in which rural tradition and history are interpreted and transformed in the present day. Her work encompasses the fields of photography, videography, audio and ethnology. Through her work she aims to describe the vitality and complexity of places and people whose lives are often overlooked and unexamined. Westhues creative projects have been widely exhibited in the Midwest, including the South Bend Museum of Art, South Bend, Indiana; Snite Museum of Art, Notre Dame, Indiana; Midwest Museum of Art. Elkhart, Indiana; Noyes Cultural Arts Center, Evanston, Illinois; 2739 Gallery, Hamtramck, Michigan; and Pictura Gallery, Bloomington, Indiana. Her video Water Catchers was included as part of “Surface Tension: The Future of Water,” an international traveling exhibition organized by the Science Gallery at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. She has received support for art and curatorial projects through the Indiana Arts Commission and Puffin Foundation West. Westhues has a M.A. degree in Folk Studies (2017) from Western Kentucky University, a M.S. in Instructional Systems Technology (1998) from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a B.S. degree in Photography and Ethnocentrism from the Individualized Major Program at Indiana University, Bloomington (1994).

    Featured images (top to bottom): ©Kay Westhues, Velma’s Diner, Shoals, Indiana, 2010, from the series Fourteen Places to Eat, 2004-2010, archival ink jet print; Rooster and Hen, Animal Swap Meet and Flea Market, Starke County, Indiana, from the Animal Swap Meets, 2008- , archival ink jet print; Grapevine Creek, 2015, from the series The Portage Path; Wabash River Soundmaps, 2019-2020, archival ink jet print; Well Stories: Water Catchers, 2011,single channel video (10:59); portrait of the artist by James Korn.


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