All posts tagged: Art and environment

Content that looks at art with an environmental component.

X-ray coloured tulips

X-Ray Photography of Nature, by Arie van’t Riet

Last week’s art by Greg Mort connected the intimate with the infinite. This week, I thought it would be interesting to explore art that delves into a world hidden from plain sight. With the use of  x-ray radiography, medical physicist and artist Arie van’t Riet creates stunning glimpses into the inner workings of the natural world. For me, van’t Riet’s photographs work on multiple levels. I enjoy the story of his path towards becoming an artist. In his work, I find a keen aesthetic judgement that balances an artist’s intention with the intrinsic beauty of the subject matter. Most importantly of all, I connect with his desire to showcase the vibrancy of life in his more complex pieces.

Greg Mort Stewardship Painting

The Art of Stewardship, by Greg Mort

I first came across Greg Mort’s artwork while writing a piece on Carl Sagan’s The Pale Blue Dot. The image immediately drew my eye: Two apples situated against a black backdrop, one golden and freshly unwrapped; the other painted as the Earth. Attached to the stem of the pole, a blank price tag. Stewardship, the piece was called. The image and title struck me.  It forced me to contemplate, not for the first or last time, what stewardship truly entails, what value I place on the well-being of the world that sustains all. It both broadened and deepened my innate desire to care, as art can sometimes do. With his work prominently displayed in museums, art galleries, and even the White House, I am honoured to have permission from Mort’s studio curator to feature and explore a few of my favourite works. As with other art-oriented Ekostories, I hope to let the visuals speak for themselves and allow you, the reader, the space and time to discover the stories they have to tell. So enjoy. …

Garbage Landscapes, by Yao Lu

Perhaps more of these kinds of messages, delivered through mediums that resonate deep within the Chinese psyche like Shan Shui paintings, can help broaden the debate, spark lasting awareness, and affect change on the complex issues behind most environmental problems. This is what I wrote in the Shan Shui: Environmental Art Ekostory a few weeks back. Last night, I stumbled upon the intriguing work of artist Yao Lu, titled Yao Lu’s Landscape, at barbourdesign.wordpress.com:

Humanity and Nature are One – Segmento

Following from the world of advertising and persuasion of last week’s post, I want to present this provocative image courtesy of The Third Ray, a blog by Joe Zammit-Lucia. Mr. Zammit-Lucia is constantly interested in exploring connections between nature and culture beyond traditional labels of environmentalism and notions of “saving the planet”, and his blog focuses on the role of art in shaping “the cultural framework surrounding the sustainable development debate.” His most recent post takes a look at an image created by a Brazilian ad agency called Segmento. The campaign is titled “Humanity and Nature are One.” I like what Mr. Zammit-Lucia had to say about the concept behind the image:  Rather than the usual – and largely ineffective – environmental narrative of “Human vs Nature,” this campaign focuses on our inseparable inter-relatedness and inter-dependence. It tries to bring us closer to nature rather than to create artificial separation. What do you think? Are there any other messages from the image that speak to you?

Shan Shui Chinese Industrial Pollution

Past Meets Present: Shan Shui Environmental Art

Literally translated as “mountain water”, Shan Shui is a specific style of Chinese landscape art that rose to prominence in the 5th century during the Liu Song Dynasty (wikipedia). In the depiction of pristine rivers, ethereal mists, and hallowed mountains, the artist’s ultimate goal is to capture the ch’i, or vital breath, of the world around them. This ch’i must be caught even at the expense of realism, for if the artist misses it, they have lost the very essence of the landscape. In this way, Shan Shui paintings are only expressions of art, but also provide insight into how the artist, influenced by culture and society, views the natural world. I recently came across the work of a modern artist who sought to introduce modern human presence and impact into Shan Shui paintings. Commissioned by the China Environmental Protection Foundation, Yong Liang Yang utilizes the traditional art style in ads to promote awareness of major environmental problems. The paintings and the associated video highlight the effects of rapid industrialization and urbanization within a Chinese …

Thoreau at Walden Word Cloud

Art Meets Philosophy: Porcellino’s Thoreau at Walden

The comic book is not the first medium that comes to mind for conveying the ideas of Henry David Thoreau, but it’s always nice to be pleasantly surprised. I stumbled upon Thoreau at Walden by John Porcellino at a small local bookstore several years ago and was immediately drawn to the thin tome. In this graphic novel, distilled passages are fused with a minimalistic art style to create a unique work that captures the essence of Thoreau’s physical and spiritual sojourn at Walden Pond. It has since become one of my favourite interpretations of the famous transcendentalist’s work, serving as a handy and accessible resource for Thoreau’s exploration into nature, culture, and self.

The Beauty of Water Droplets, by Andrew Osokin

The Beauty of Water Droplets, by Andrew Osokin I recently came across the macro photography of Andrew Osokin in the environment section of the Guardian. I was captivated by the images taken around his home city of Moscow, but more intrigued by the photographer’s motivations: “I am greatly interested in photographing the natural world and wanted to show the beauty of nature at a scale that we do not ordinarily appreciate.” (Andrew Osokin) His comment speaks of the beauty that is all around us, even if we do not readily observe it. Osokin’s photographs reminds me of an Ekostory I wrote on the Pikmin videogames: What if dandelions were the height of telephone poles? What if rusty cans were the size of houses? What if puddles were as deep as great lakes? By presenting familiar outdoor settings from an unfamiliar perspective, the Pikmin games allow the player to identify with their diminutive avatars and the creatures they encounters in this alien but recognizable world. The player is asked, in subtle fashion, to consider the secret …