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 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, September 20, 2021 6:43 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    September 20, 2021

    This week we recognize the work of artist Anne-Katrin Spiess.

    "My ongoing environmental concerns led me to address the urgent single-use plastics crisis, a leading cause of pollution and climate change on the planet. For decades prosperous nations were sending their plastics to China. Thankfully, their recent refusal to accept these materials is a wake-up call for all countries faced with a glut of plastic and a lack of infrastructure to process them. Part of the problem is that as consumers, we have become incredibly lazy. However, the more significant issue is that corporations keep producing and wrapping products in plastics that are often not recyclable. The result of my research is a new series titled Death by Plastic."

    "In the summer of 2019, I performed Death by Plastic for the first time in Moab, Utah, a small community seasonally infiltrated by tourists who come to explore the extraordinary pristine landscapes but leave behind large quantities of refuse. I have been creating art in the area for twenty years and when I discovered that only plastics #1 and #2 were being recycled, and everything else was being land-filled. After a sleepless night, I decided to build a clear casket where my body would lay covered by plastics 3,4,5,6 and 7, which were longer be recycled. The work was photographed on the Moab landfill, where the plastics would eventually end up.

    In July of 2021, still reeling from the pandemic and its optics, namely in the form of single-use masks, a glut of takeout containers, and packaging materials, I decided to perform Death by Plastic in my hometown of New York City as a funeral procession down Fifth Avenue."


    We are gathered here to mourn the state of the planet, our home, a place where climate change is causing torrential rains and scorching fires. Have you noticed?

    We are here to mourn oceans and rivers filled with plastics and debris. We are here to mourn beaches that are no longer pristine. We are here to mourn the fish who are feeding off micro-plastics rather than plankton. We are here to mourn the whales who are dying with their bellies full of plastic.

    We stand here in the realization that we each ingest a credit card worth of plastic every week through the foods and drinks we consume and that those micro-plastics may end up in human placenta and sperm.
The very essence of human life is in jeopardy.

    Unless we come up with alternate solutions to single-use plastics, the very composition of our bodies will be irreversibly changed. The planet we live on will be so toxic and polluted that life as we know it will no longer be possible.

    Anne-Katrin Spiess is a land artist whose primary focus is the ecology of Earth. She lives in New York City, although much of her art is created in the deserts of the American West. This dichotomy fuels her imagination, with both places providing endless and disparate stimuli. Spiess is able to work in incredibly isolated locales thanks to an Airstream trailer which becomes her traveling studio and hermitage for weeks at a time. Her practice is a way of exploring solitude and becoming immersed in and with the land.

    Featured Images: ©Anne-Katrin Spiess, Death By Plastic, 2019-2021, New York City procession, 5th Ave, July 29, 2021.

    Below: ©Anne-Katrin Spiess, Casket Portrait, 2019, Moab, Utah. Photo credit: Mark Brown

  • Monday, September 13, 2021 3:54 PM | Callie Smith (Administrator)


    AUGUST 9, 2021

    This week we recognize the work of artist Julia Oldham.

    Using a range of media, from animation to graphic storytelling, Oldham gives voice to the animals, ecosystems and scientific phenomena all around us. Her narrative works explore the complex relationships between nature and technology, humans and animals, and science and creativity.

    Fallout Dogs (2019) is a cinematic portrait of Chernobyl guided by the movements and activities of the stray dogs that live in the exclusion zone and the people who take care of them.

    The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster began on April 26, 1986, with an explosion in Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Power Plant. Over 100,000 residents were evacuated on buses and told to leave everything behind. During the ensuing clean up effort, many of the abandoned pets were shot to prevent contamination. Some survived by making their way to the power plant, where workers and self settlers have been caring for them and their descendants ever since.

    "BRIDGET is a deep learning machine (AI) that I programmed to offer soothing advice from a large selection of self help books. Though she uses nearly 1000 books to learn from, half of which contain “self help” or “mindfulness” in the title, her advice is quirky and fantastical, utilizing math and probability to build meaning out of the text in the books that she has stored in her corpus. I have performed her advice, taking on the persona of BRIDGET, to create this video, which is presented in the style of YouTube self-hypnosis and self-help videos. The title of my project, “Loneliness Creeps Down the Spine,” was also text generated by BRIDGET."

    The Loneliest Place is a 14-page graphic novella about a scientist and her robotic canine scientific partner. Together they embark on a mission to find a black hole, approach it, and escape from its grip. This work was commissioned by Art Journal and printed in the Spring, 2016 publication. In the Art Journal printing, the novella is peer reviewed by astrophysicist Roban Kramer of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

    Julia Oldham is an artist living and working in Eugene, OR and New York City. Her work has been screened/exhibited at galleries including Art in General in New York, NY; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; the San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA; and The Drawing Center in New York, NY. Her work has been reviewed in the New York TimesWashington PostWall Street Journal, and the Village Voice, and has been featured on the NPR shows “State of Wonder” on OPB and “Inquiry” on WICN.

    Featured Images: ©Julia Oldham, Fallout Dogs; Loneliness Creeps Down the Spine; The Loneliest Place

    Above: Julia Oldham/Photo: Still from Terra, a three-channel video projection created and performed by Oldham for "The Observatory," a multimedia installation by Really Large Numbers.

  • Thursday, September 09, 2021 10:17 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Eileen Wold, Square Meter (2021), recycled aluminum post

    Who Owns the Earth?

    This group show proposes fresh paradigms of land ownership and art making in contrast to the rugged individualism of much early Land Art.

    Review by Louis Bury for Hyperallergic 9/8/21

    Includes works by ecoartspace member Eileen Wold, Eliza Evans.

    There’s a curious paradox in the title of Unison Arts’s Owning Earth, a seemingly straightforward group exhibition about our species’ complex attitudes toward land. Curator Tal Beery and assistant curator Erin Lee Antonak clearly intend the exhibition to question anthropocentric ideologies of mastery and domination over the earth. Yet the title speaks of the earth as being owned. This paradox, it turns out, is not a misnomer. Instead, many of the exhibition’s 18 artworks, by 24 artists, incorporate the visual language of property relations as a way to propose alternatives to the norms of ownership.

    This dynamic manifests most pointedly in Eliza Evans’s ingenious piece of artistic activism, “All the Way To Hell” (2020–ongoing). The artist has divided a three-acre Oklahoma property she owns into a thousand 6-by-18-foot parcels. Each parcel’s mineral rights — which extend, under United States property law, to the center of the earth — are being sold or given away to a thousand individuals, creating a bureaucratic morass for the fossil fuel companies interested in acquiring the land for fracking. When Evans has displayed the work in a gallery setting, the visual focus has been on core samples and property deeds; installed along Unison’s wooded trails, the focus shifts to a plot of land demarcated in the manner of a grave site, equivalent in size to one Oklahoman parcel.

    Continue reading on Hyperallergic HERE

  • Monday, September 06, 2021 9:25 PM | Callie Smith (Administrator)

    SEPTEMBER 6, 2021

    This week we recognize the work of artist Lauren Bon of Metabolic Studio.

    Featured is her current project, Bending the River Back Into the City, which will divert water from the Los Angeles River through a wetland and cleaning facility and into Metabolic Studio on North Spring Street. Once the water meets regulatory requirements for cleanliness, it will be distributed through subterranean irrigation to Los Angeles State Historic Park and the Albion Riverside Park.

    Above: Not A Cornfield, 2005-2006

    "Bending the River Back Into the City culminates years committed to reconnecting us with the LA River and sustaining living systems. This journey began with Not A Cornfield in 2005–06 on the site of the recently opened Los Angeles State Historic Park. Contracted by the State Parks agency for one agricultural cycle, I created a durational performance in honor of this pre-colonial watershed at Yaangna that became the industrial service channel for Los Angeles. We laid ninety miles of irrigation piping, planted corn sourced from and returned to the Native American community, and cleaned the soil of this abandoned train yard. Not A Cornfield’s  transformation of the land back into a public space — a commons — created the possibility for a deeper public consciousness and a sense of shared ownership of this historic floodplain."

    Above: Site Plan: Restoring the Historic Floodplain

    "The concrete-sealed basin protects valuable real estate from the ancient route of the LA River and from its swelling and flooding. It also disconnects us physically and spiritually from the shared, life-giving resource of our water. It is within this context that Bending the River Back Into the City will make its actual and symbolic bend."

    Above: Construction of Bending the River Back Into the City

    "Construction of Bending the River begins with the piercing of two holes in the cement jacket of the River just north of Metabolic Studio. One hole and tunnel will “bend” the river westwards and draw a small percentage (0.00158% of dry-weather flow) from the river’s basin, bringing it into a newly-formed wetland and treatment system for cleaning before its distribution. Another tunnel will pierce the sealed river basin further south, returning unused river water that continues its journey to the port of Long Beach. This first phase of Bending the River Back Into the City is not a strategy for re-naturalizing the LA River — a prospect that many of us hope will come into being in the future — but an immediate solution and an achievable model for respectful stewardship of our life-giving birthright."

    Above: Construction of Bending the River Back Into the City

    "On a bureaucratic level, Bending the River Back Into the City is made possible by securing more than sixty interconnected permits and approvals from twenty-three federal, state, regional, county, and city agencies. The linchpin agreement is the Water Right that was awarded to me by the State Water Resources Board in March 2014. It is important to qualify this water right: it has been awarded to me personally rather than as a trustee of the Annenberg Foundation, as director of Metabolic Studio, or in exchange for any funding or capital advancement for the State Water Resources Board.

    "I openly admit that my having a “water right” to bend the LA River is humbling and I do not carry the burden of its language lightly. I believe that water is a right for all living things to share, and that Bending the River Back will activate and transform a water right into a water responsibility. My stewardship of this responsibility is inextricably shared with all of the institutions and agencies who partner with me on permanently re-adapting the LA River. My deepest hopes as we break ground for Bending the River Back Into the City is that the communities and partners that it touches are galvanized by its systematic and emblematic power to transform the way that we think about water. If water is life then our aim is to bend life in the direction that we all need it to go."

    Above: "Delta of Mount Whitney," painting depicting the below ground means by which the LA River will be reconnected to the historic floodplain of the formerly unbridled river

    Lauren Bon is an ecological artist based in Los Angeles, California. Her practice, Metabolic Studio, explores self-sustaining and self-diversifying systems of exchange that feed emergent properties that regenerate the life web. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Princeton University and her Masters of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Instagram: @bendingtheriver @metabolicstudio @laurenmetropolis

    Above: Lauren Bon/Photo by Josh White

    Featured Images: ©Lauren BonBending the River Back Into the City

  • Wednesday, September 01, 2021 4:55 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    (Sun Eaters, From IDEAS performance @ Qualcomm Institute)

    The Rhythm that Flows Through Us All:
    Grace Grothaus’ Sun Eaters

    Interviewer: Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein

    Grace Grothaus creates immersive environments using computational media revolving around subjects related to the global climate crisis. Finding incredible intersections between technologies and the environment, she uses computational methods to aid the visualization and understanding of human impacts. In her recent work Sun Eaters, Grace has rewired ECG sensors to translate the electrical currents in trees into light. Similar to the human heartbeat, the trees express the pulses that give them life through the light that is presented. For the first time, the viewer can experience the life force in the surrounding plant life as part of the rhythm that flows through all of us.

    Hi Grace! Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview. It is so exciting to learn about your work!

    Though your work is vast, and you have created incredible installations that encourage viewers to focus on the larger world around them, we will mostly be focusing on your piece Sun Eaters for this interview in correlation with ecoartspace’s focus on trees the last year. Can you start out by speaking a bit about your art practice and goals?

    As an artist working in computational media on issues arising from the global climate crisis, I focus increasingly on environmental sensing and visualization to open up conversations through public artworks. My projects generally take the form of interactive or responsive installations, though at times, I also make artwork through video, prints, and sculpture.

    (Sun Eaters, From IDEAS performance @ Qualcomm Institute)

    Plants are more similar to ourselves than perhaps we commonly give credit.

    Sun Eaters is an installation of sculptures that senses bioelectric energy and translates it into visible light for us to see by using ECG sensors. In Sun Eaters, I have focused specifically on measuring and visualizing bioelectricity in plants to call attention to them. Sun Eaters has been installed in a number of venues along paths where people frequently walk and the sculptures’ flickering lights can be seen. For much the same reasons that some stop signs and warning notices are outfitted with blinking LEDs, I’ve illuminated these trees with the same: to arrest your attention within our over-saturated world. The brightness of the lights in Sun Eaters is in direct correlation to the bioelectric pulse of the plant it is measuring. I hope that people will see that plants are more similar to ourselves than perhaps we commonly give credit. They begin to pay more attention to the more-than-human living ecosystems present around them in their daily lives.

    Plant blindness, a form of cognitive bias, is a common tendency to overlook plants and to treat them solely as a beautiful backdrop in front of which human action takes place. Yet plants trees, particularly, sequester large amounts of atmospheric carbon, and we need them to counteract our warming climate. For this reason and others, trees are vital to the health of our future and worthy of our increased attention. I believe that Sun Eaters can play a role in environmental efforts by acting as a visual aid in comprehension, and I hope that the project might trigger an expansion of our imagination: to consider the lives of plant beings of the world to be as worthy of attention and care as our own. Maybe Sun Eaters can provide an empirical interface for grasping ecological processes and ways of thinking about them?

    Seeing aids believing. Vision is our most important sense for perceiving and interacting with the surrounding world in terms of our attention.

    What a beautiful goal! By visualizing the bioelectric currents in trees, you are presenting something otherwise invisible. What role does making the invisible visible feature in your art practice? Why do you think this is important?

    I’m motivated by the understanding that seeing aids believing. Vision is our most important sense for perceiving and interacting with the surrounding world in terms of our attention. There are more neurons in our brains firing for the purpose of comprehending what we see than any of our other senses. At one time, microscopes awakened us to a microbial world. Maybe visualization of other invisible aspects of our fragile earth ecosystems will help us understand them better and subsequently take better care of them? It’s a question that I think is worth exploring.

    And Sun Eaters is a wonderful example of presenting that visualization. Can you explain a little about the process of creating Sun Eaters? What were your main takeaways from the experience?

I was researching about recent scientific developments in our understanding of plants as being able to do things such as learn, count, and share resources with one another via collaboration with mycorrhizal networks, and I came across artworks from the 1970s in the United States where people were using sensors to generate live music from plants. I started to experiment in my studio and became very excited by realizing I could effectively use ECG sensors to generate not music but light. Higher levels of bioelectric energy I translated to brighter light and lower levels to more dim light. It felt incredible to be able to watch the plants in my studio garden in this way. It felt like I was better connected with the plants, like the rudimentary beginnings of understanding plant ontologies better. My mind caught fire, and I wanted to go further with this. What more could I learn through such experimentations?

    (Sun Eaters, From IDEAS performance @ Qualcomm Institute)

    What an incredible connection to music! While describing your Sun Eaters project, you also discuss the rhythm of the natural world and how we are a part of it. Can you talk about your experience in the Mata Atlantica Forest in South America and the insights you gained from spending time there?

    When living in cities (which a majority of humans now are, for a majority of our time), we aren’t linked as closely to circadian rhythm cues. For parts of last year and this, I was spent time living well outside the city in the Mata Atlantica. I not only felt my own being tuned more closely to the daily cycle of sunrise and fall, but I also witnessed the other plants and animals do the same. Birds and monkeys and all manner of animals make noises daily during what is often called the dawn and dusk chorus. In fact, I recently learned that oceanographers have found that even fish are noisiest at dawn and dusk (it takes special microphones to hear it, though, which is why we didn’t know before). I enjoy thinking of it as an ongoing daily song that all living beings are participating in together. Perhaps I, as a human, need to connect consciously, and because as I am not living indigenously, I seem to forget.

    This topic of consciously connecting to the environment reminds me of an ever-diminishing attention span attributed to the twenty-first Century. You have even discussed climate change as “something happening on a scale that is not at a human attention span” and has produced work about that difference in time experience. Can you talk about this gap?

    That is an interesting question. Weather changes within the human attention span. and climate is a slower, intergenerational process. However, this is all changing. With our near exponentially accelerating storm patterns, rainfall changes, and ever hotter summers, we are beginning to see climate change within our attention span. But as for perceptual gaps, I think it is closely related to the importance of visualizing the invisible. How can and how does visualization help us to comprehend our world? These are important questions for me in the studio. 

    Now is not the time to give up but to do everything we can to reach zero emissions and create a just and equitable world for everyone: every person and every species.

    Absolutely! This summer has been such a pervasive and undeniable reminder that climate change is present and has been underscored further in the recent AR6 Climate Change 2021 IPCC report. What have you noticed in your communities, and how will the experiences of this summer influence the nature of your art practice?

    Yes, this latest IPCC report is an even more explicit and grave warning of what is to come. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think about this, and the alarm bells are going off louder and louder as we witness the horrific evidence of the changes we have wrought to the climate, such as this summer’s fires and heatwaves. I often think that well before I was born people were awakened to the realization that the climate was changing, yet policies and politics did not change. Now it is 2021, and I am hoping that swift action is beginning to occur, and I think it is. Indeed this is the greatest threat humanity has faced, but conversely, it is our greatest opportunity to create positive change. Now is not the time to give up but to do everything we can to reach zero emissions and create a just and equitable world for everyone: every person and every species. It is a global ecosystem, everything is interconnected, and each is necessary to all the others. 

    In my communities of artists and environmentalists and people in various places that I have lived in my life, I hear an increase in openness to discussing the climate crisis and an upswell in commitment to make personal and system(s)-wide changes and thankfully, I hear one thing less and less: uncertainty that the climate is changing due to human action.

    What a call to action! Sun Eaters seems like a project that sits at an intersection of art, research, and experimentation. How do art and science feed off each other? What do you think that art can do that science cannot in these topics?

    These are very interesting questions to me. What are the boundaries between disciplines? Is science an endeavor of making discoveries? Is it new knowledge production? Are the arts conversely about reminding ourselves of timeless truths? Could an artist make art using the scientific method? Can scientists do research that includes emotions in their consideration? It’s clear that the distinctions are not clear cut, and generally, the answers are “it depends.” I’m interested in working horizontally with people across disciplines if the collaboration can mutually make possible things that wouldn’t be possible otherwise, and it is often the case. It is a very exciting space to explore.

    At a very young age, I made sculptures when I was learning about the Keeling Curve. Then I began making work it and about speculative futures. I also started wanting my sculptural work to be and do more, so I integrated electronics into my work. The fundamental framework of electronics is that you use inputs such as sensors, process the signal(s), and then output them through different things such as light and motion. At some point, I realized that this provides the possibility for not just making work about our environmental present or potential futures but also actually and specifically measuring our environments. I’m excited about where this line of inquiry is leading. Can my artwork do more and be more active; can my artwork itself act and have activist agency in the world? What will it take for Earth to reach zero emissions and create a more just and equitable world in the process? In what ways can I best contribute my individual skills towards this global, collective effort?

    Can my artwork itself act and have activist agency in the world?

    What new work(s) are you developing right now? You will be starting a Ph.D. in Digital Media at York University in Toronto. Can you talk about your research direction and what you see as your next steps?

    Next month I begin a Ph.D. program in Digital Media at York University. There I will be able to expand on the work started with Sun Eaters and new work that I am eager to develop regarding visualization of air pollution. At this time, that is all I can say about this new work, but I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months and years.

    Thank you very much for this opportunity to share a few of the ideas that fuel my artistic practice, and thank you for the support and community you foster for all of us involved with ecoartspace!

    Thank you, Grace, for continuing your incredible work! 

    Sun Eater's online Performance on YouTube

  • Wednesday, September 01, 2021 4:11 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Watermill Center visitors and schoolchildren inspect ring of twigs by artist Laurie Lambrecht.

    Laurie Lambrecht at Water Mill Center, NY Review by James FitzGerald

    The sun is descending over a landscape that, at first glance, resembles many on the East End of Long Island: stands of oak and pitch pine, an understory of moss and blueberry, and yellow farm fields peeping through the trunks. However, a closer look reveals that this is no ordinary woodland. Some of the trees glow with blue, orange, purple, and white. Others appear to be masquerading in the bark of their neighbors; a beech tree has donned a girdle of pine bark, while an oak has cloaked itself as a conifer from base to the midriff.

    This forest of shapeshifters is the creation of Long Island-based photographer and multimedia artist Laurie Lambrecht. “I want the work to be sympathetic with the landscape,” she explains. “I want to draw attention to details people would otherwise miss without detracting from the natural setting. My work shouldn’t be the first thing you see.”

    The installation sits on the grounds of the Watermill Center, a center for the arts and humanities in Watermill, NY founded by theater director Robert Wilson in 1992. Lambrecht’s work provided the backdrop to the July 30 kick-off ceremony for the Center’s week-long summer festival, which also featured musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson and Shane Weeks, a multidisciplinary artist and member of the Shinnecock Nation.

    Lambrecht’s work is spread across the 10-acre site, coming to the fore in some areas and camouflaging itself in others. Our walk began in a wooded corner of the property, where she has wrapped tree trunks in a weave composed of plastic newspaper bags, dyed silk, and a warp of marine ropes. Blue is the dominant color, but flashes of orange, white, and pink glimmer in the late afternoon sun. The land slopes gently upward, channeling slanted beams of light toward the trunks. 

    Two oak trees which Lambrecht wrapped in weaving, with plastic-covered rocks beneath them.

    The ground below is sprinkled with what appear to be bright blue robin’s eggs. On closer inspection, they turn out to be rocks wrapped in the same blue newspaper bags that festoon the trees. The unclothed rocks around them bear the trails of slugs. One, deposited by an unknown passerby, is inscribed with the word “acceptance.”

    Lambrecht seems pleased by the ways in which these visitors, whether human or gastropod, have found ways to enter into dialogue with her work. She has been coming to the Watermill Center since soon after its founding and describes her work as the continuation of an ongoing conversation between land, artists, and visitors to the site. In recent years, she has examined how trees and vines intertwine and photographed these natural weavings. She has drawn inspiration from the woods and dunes of Long Island, where bittersweet vines and wild grapes form thick webs and tapestries. 

    Wrapped branches in the interior of the Watermill Center, New York.

    The next stop on our tour is an oak grove where Lambrecht has wrapped trees in linen sheets bearing photographic prints of other tree species. These “hugging wraps,” which she debuted in her 2019 installation at the Madoo Conservancy in Sagaponack, New York, are designed to draw attention to trees and make people see them in new ways. 

    A beech in pine's clothing

    In a clearing a few feet away sit several piles of twigs wrapped in yarn. They form a color wheel of blue, red, and green. Lambrecht made around two thirds of them, while the rest are the handiwork of schoolchildren at the Westhampton Beach Elementary School and kids who visited with their families on Community Day at the Center. When kids return to visit the site, Lambrecht tells me, they always race to find their own twig in the pile. 

    Wrapped twigs mark the edge of the forest.

    The twigs, like the rest of the installation, will remain on site for the foreseeable future. However, the elements will ensure that they take on new hues and textures over time. Lambrecht is curious to see how the weathering process plays out. The color of the weavings, she says, has already changed and will continue to as the months wear on.

    Time is also a force of change over the short term. Over the chirp of an osprey, Lambrecht tells me, “As I figured out how to integrate the work with the landscape, I was driven by the light. The site faces directly west, and a beautiful orange glow sketches its way across the sky every evening. I think of the weavings as sundials that situate you and give you a sense of beginning, middle, and end.”

    Photo credit: Terri Gold

    James FitzGerald recently became a member of ecoartspace. He is a graduate student at the University of Cambridge, studying international environmental law and policy. FitzGerald currently serves as an editorial intern at Orion magazine, a quarterly publication focused on culture, place, and the natural world. As a nature lover raised on the East End of Long Island, he has long been familiar with Lambrecht's work and with the landscapes that inspire it.

  • Wednesday, September 01, 2021 1:58 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    The ecoartspace August 2021 e-Newsletter is HERE

  • Monday, August 30, 2021 9:56 AM | Callie Smith (Administrator)


    AUGUST 30, 2021

    This week we recognize the work of artists Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris.

    Featured is their installation work Eclipse,  installed as a part of an exhibition titleCross Pollination at Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Catskill, NY, May 9 – November 1, 2020.

    Eclipse is an act of commemoration for a lost species: the passenger pigeon, whose once massive population went extinct 100 years ago. As of the mid-19th Century, this dove-like bird was the most abundant bird species in North America and flew in flocks of millions that would literally darken the skies for hours when passing over. Audubon likened their appearance to a noonday eclipse. The last known passenger pigeon, Martha, died in captivity on September 1, 1914.

    Inspired by historic accounts of the flock movements, this video installation and soundscape evokes the once overwhelming, even frightening, numbers of the birds, as well as their delicate beauty, the sadness of their loss and irreversible disappearance.  An accompanying artist publication by Sayler/Morris extends the content of the installation.

    The original installation was designed specifically for MASS MoCA and was projected onto a wall and 50-foot high ceiling. The birds traveled over the heads of viewers, traveling a full distance of about 100 feet. The piece has since been re-configured for other spaces, including as a single monitor piece at the David Brower Center and also as a towering array of eight monitors extending into the atrium of the Berman Museum. The piece was originally conceived during a series of conversations with the author Elizabeth Kolbert about extinction—how to memorialize it and what such memorials can accomplish.

    Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris (Sayler/Morris) work with photography, video, writing, and installation to examine our changing notions of nature, culture, and ecology. Their work is often place-based and focused on historical research.

    Their work has been exhibited broadly in the U.S. and internationally, including at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Belvedere Museum, the Museum of Capitalism and the Southeast Center for Contemporary Art.  They have been awarded numerous fellowships including the New York Artist Fellowship, the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, the Center for Art and Environment Research Fellowship, and the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard Graduate School of Design. They are currently teaching in the Transmedia Department at Syracuse University.  Their archives are collected by the Nevada Museum of Art / Reno, Center for Art and Environment.

    In 2006, Sayler/Morris co-founded The Canary Project - a studio that produces visual media and artworks that deepen public understanding of climate change and other ecological issues.

    Above: Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris/Photo from

    Featured Images: ©Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris

  • Monday, August 23, 2021 9:40 AM | Callie Smith (Administrator)


    AUGUST 23, 2021

    This week we recognize the work of artist John Sabraw.

    "Art is the mechanism through which I explore the fundamental metaphysical dilemmas we face as a conscious species. No medium or mode is unconsidered when attacking this pursuit. I look for idiosyncratic connections between things, the compression of time and distance, the glory of our universe, and natural and cosmological processes. A catalytic visual collation that generates a paradox revealing the fragile connection between technology, nature and man. An activist and environmentalist, my paintings, drawings and collaborative installations are produced in an eco-conscious manner, and I continually work toward a fully sustainable practice."

    Above: Petrichor 3, 8 x 8", laser etched maple burl, CNC routed coal dust and sculpting clay, oil paint, 23.5K gold leaf, cold rolled steel frame, 2017

    "There is a hidden network most people have no idea exists, yet each of us has a part in its formation : underground coal mines. In a recent series of art works I am unearthing these hidden topographies to examine their paradox. For they are at once wondrous feats of human ingenuity and engineering, yet also emblematic of our consumption and hubris. These underground excoriations are fascinating in their design, and compelling in their geography. By drawing maps of these coal mines, I am seeking an understanding of humanity itself.

    I have chosen to use technological instruments through digital interface to draw these maps, e.g. laser cutters and computer driven routers, to burn or excavate natural materials, thereby enacting the very scorched earth practice of resource extraction in America. There is a terrible beauty in the resulting artworks that balance the delicate with the brutal."

    Above: Chroma S4 Dragon, 48 x 48", AMD pigments and other paints on aluminum composite panel, 2017

    "The same holds true for my chroma series. These paintings seek to express the sublimity of nature, but also the fragility of our relationship with it. One aspect of the series that underscores this pursuit is the use of AMD pigments.

    I have partnered with Guy Riefler to extract toxic acid mine drainage (AMD) from polluted streams and turn it into paint pigment. Once the pigment is sold on a commercial scale, revenue will be invested back into the streams’ remediation.

    I became inspired to transform the toxic sludge after moving to Ohio. While touring the southern part of the state with sustainability group “Kanawha”, I was struck by the colors of the local streams – orange, red and brown, as if from a mud slide. The polluted water contained iron oxide, which was flowing freely from abandoned coal mines. I thought it would be fantastic to use this toxic flow to make paintings rather than with imported synthetic iron oxides. It turned out that environmental engineer and fellow Ohio University professor Guy Riefler had already been working to create viable paint from this toxic sludge; so we began collaborating."

    "To make the pigment, we intercept the AMD before it gets to the stream, take the water back to the lab, neutralize it with sodium hydroxide or another base, then bubble oxygen through the water, causing the iron oxide to crystalize and fall to the bottom. The clean water is then returned to the stream. The iron oxide is blended with oil, or acrylic polymers and resins to make paint, ranging in hues from yellow to brown to red to black. Different colors are achieved by firing the pigment at different temperatures – up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit – in a kiln at Ohio University’s ceramics studio.

    This is where Gamblin comes in. As a colorhouse that promises to be kind to artists and the environment, turning this pigment into paint was something we felt both compelled and honored to do. In 2018 we officially joined forces by making one full batch of paint with the reclaimed pigment. The process to collect the pigment worked, and an oil paint manufacturer was on board. The concept was no longer just an idea, it was a reality."

    Above: Gamblin Reclaimed Earth Colors

    John Sabraw was born in Lakenheath, England. An activist and environmentalist, Sabraw’s paintings, drawings and collaborative installations are produced in an eco conscious manner, and he continually works toward a fully sustainable practice. His art is in numerous collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Honolulu, the Elmhurst Museum in Illinois, Emprise Bank, and Accenture Corp. Sabraw is represented in Chicago by Thomas McCormick. Sabraw is a Professor of Art at Ohio University where he is Chair of the Painting + Drawing program, and Board Advisor at Scribble Art Workshop in New York. He has most recently been featured in TED, Smithsonian, New Scientist, and Great Big Story. He is currently included in the exhibition "Reclamation; Recovering our Relationship with Place" curated by Erika Osborne at the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO, and his solo show of new art work titled "Hydrophilic" opens October 7th at Qualia Contemporary Art in Palo Alto, CA.

    Above: John Sabraw/Photo: Ben Siegel

  • Saturday, August 21, 2021 5:02 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Lemonade berries are as sweet and sour as their name implies. All photos courtesy of Jimmy Fike

    Gaze on Ghostly Portraits of North America’s Wild Edibles

    From familiar flowers to unusual salad greens.

    by Anne Ewbank August 20, 2021

    Jimmy Fike is on his way to a campsite when I call him. “Jeez, a lady almost hit me. I’m driving,” he says offhandedly. But unlike most of us, if Fike’s car broke down or if he wandered a bit too far from his campsite, he could likely eat his way back to civilization.

    That’s because, for the last 13 years, Fike has been photographing North America’s edible flora. But instead of snapping pictures in the field, he carefully harvests the plants and takes them home to photograph. During the editing process, he only leaves a few splashes of color in the image to identify edible parts of the plant. With the plants pinned up like butterflies, the result is both vivid and somehow gruesome.

    But that’s the point. Fike often collages together stems and root systems to create perfect, archetypal versions of plants, then adjusts colors to make the plant appear to “pulsate and move.” Plants, he says, are “locked in the cycle of death and rebirth,” and the portraits are meant to mirror that line between life and oblivion.

    A mountain marsh marigold, photographed in Idaho, looks almost like a sea creature.

    It’s a very different type of landscape photography, which Fike maintains is his main style. Thirteen years ago, he says, he “hit a wall” and took up his current project. While he hopes to “help people become more ecologically and environmentally conscious,” he still considers his work more artistic than educational. “If you recognize one of those plants, then go outside the gallery and eat it, that’s art to me.”

    Continue reading on Gastro Obscura HERE

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