Over the years, I’ve come to recognize and appreciate the power of art, especially in its ability to deeply resonate with people. Several years ago, a colleague of mine put together a fascinating presentation about the environmental themes of art commissioned during the Industrial Revolution. During this period of immense change and upheaval, several artists sought to contrast industrialization and urbanization with romantic pastoral images of sky, rural life, and nature. Each of the paintings in her presentation were affective and provocative, each conveying a richly detailed but wordless story.
Recently, I came across a series of pictures that reminded me of that presentation. They originate from a book called The Changing Countryside by . In it there are seven murals which detail a steady progression of natural and human induced changes of a landscape over time. To me, they worked together to tell a story rich in environmental themes, ideas, and connections. Click on the pictures if you want a more detailed look:
Instead of writing about what I think, I thought it would be more appropriate to let the art speak for itself. I have come up with a few questions of my own that may prove to be interesting for discussion.
- What kind of story do these pictures tell?
- What environmental ideas, themes and connections do you see?
- What element(s) throughout each of the pictures do you feel most attached to?
- Which frame are you personally MOST comfortable living in or living with?
- What should the next picture in the sequence look like?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Thanks for reading, and have a happy 42nd Earth Day.
- Past Meets Present: Shan Shui Environmental Art
- Art Meets Philosophy: Porcellino’s Thoreau at Walden
Next up: Finding wisdom in the garden.
Müller, Jörg. The Changing Countryside. Heryin Books Inc, 2006.