Gaia and Global Warming: Women Artists Champion Nature
Art Association Exhibits
On display June 26 through September 28; opening reception 5:30 p.m. on June 26
ArtSpace Main Gallery Center for the Arts 240 S. Glenwood St.
Six noted women artists respond to global climate change in six unique and individual ways. Hope Sandrow, Peggy Diggs, Margaret and Christine Wertheim, Nancy Macko and Judy Cotton contribute, and Lowery Stokes Sims curates the installation in the ArtSpace Main Gallery.
Sims also particpates in a free ArtTalk, "Women Artists Champion Nature,"
with Nancy Macko, Margaret Werthheim and biologist Nalini Nadkarni at
7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24, in the Center Theater, sponsored by
the Center of Wonder.
Over the past five years, organizations such as the Precipice Alliance,
Greenhouse Britain, EcoArts and the Artists' Project Earth have brought
together visual artists to sound the warnings about global climate
change and raise awareness through their work to inspire their fellow
planetary citizens to action towards life changes that will insure a
sustainable environment. The result has been an explosion of
exhibitions, projects and interventions on the themes of climate
change, sustainability and ecological responsibility.
The artists in "Gaia and Global Warming: Women Artists Champion Nature"
each evidences in her work an uncanny marriage of utility and
aesthetics. Hope Sandrow's
work features documentation of her breeding of Paduan roosters and
hens, an endangered species of fowl. Her relationship to these birds
represents a type of human-bird interaction that restores the
relationship of urbanized humans to sources of foods they eat. Her work
also involves an examination of how humans often alter the behavior of
species they domesticate for work, companionship or consumption, and an
attempt to free the species of those human interventions.
There has been much discussion of the social dislocations that would be a consequence of global warming. Peggy Diggs,
an artist working in Williamstown, Mass., began to think about the
experience of living as a refugee, moving from place to place with only
a few belongings on her back, and created a project called "WorkOut" –
one possible solution to the need to live in tight spaces, perhaps with
objects serving multiple functions, and definitely having to be mobile.
In collaboration with prisoners at Graterford Prison outside
Philadelphia, Diggs created compact, flexible furniture. As part of
"Gaia and Global Warming," she will exhibit versions of "WorkOut" and
also will come conduct a workshop at the Arts Association.
Margaret and Christine Wertheim are known best for their
"Hyberbolic Crochet Coral Reef," initiated by their organizational
entity The Institute for Figuring in Los Angeles. This project was
initiated not only to highlight the mathematical order and underpinning
of earthly creation but also to heighten awareness of the condition of
the Great Barrier Reef along the coast of Queensland, Australia. For
"Gaia and Global Warming," they will present their "Hyperbolic Crochet
Nancy Macko will exhibit aspects of her on-going project, "Hive
Universe." Initiated in 1994, the project allows Macko to explore a
mythology of bee priestesses based on her research into the role and
place of honeybees all over the world. Macko has used painting,
printmaking, digital media, photography, video, and installation to
create a visual language that examines and responds to issues related
to eco-feminism, nature, and ancient matriarchal cultures, as well as
to explore her interest in mathematics and prime numbers, in particular
in order to make explicit the implicit connections between nature and
technology. Macko's work also is prescient given the current crisis
around the fate of honeybees, the collapse of colonies worldwide, and
the implications for agriculture. A special feature of the installation
will be Macko's compilation of bee stories that she collected in
various parts of the globe.
Judy Cotton's "Jackson Nature Trail — Duck Walk — Fifty Years
from Now — Snake River" juxtaposes her signature yellow rubber ducks
(appropriated from dime stores) and the Snake River to represent
particular challenges to the landscape posed by global warming and
ecological irresponsibility. The effectiveness of the project rests in
the contrast between the almost ridiculous and ubiquitous cuteness of
the duck forms and the deadly seriousness of the issues that each
prototype duck represents.