ECO ART: Exploring Environmental Issues

Learning about the Issues
A news article, “Warming Tied to Extinction of Frog Species” by Juliet Eilperin, (Washington Post, January 12, 2006) and five years of activism with the Buffalo Field Campaign motivated me to expand my knowledge about environmental issues.

Other news articles, books, exploration on the web, attending lectures, and volunteering at an animal rights conference in Washington, DC broadened my education and deepened my commitment.  In particular, I would like to mention Frogs – A Chorus of Colors by John and Deborah Behler, The Empty Ocean by Richard Ellis, The Wildfire Reader edited by George Wuerthner, Clearcut – The Tragedy of Industrial Forestry edited by Bill Duvall, An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore, Silence by Christina Feldman, Reason for Hope by Jane Goodall, and Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin.

Logging roads and clearcuts scar our forests. Mountaintops are flattened for mining, clearcuts and development. Over-zealous forest fire suppression interferes with nature’s way of thinning forests to prevent the buildup of fuel loads that lead to raging destructive crown fires. The clearing and removal of the remaining tree snags left after a forest fire reduces habitat for forest creatures and slows down the regeneration of the forest.

Baby harp seals are killed in large number for their coats. Yellowstone buffalo are denied adequate habitat because of pressure from the cattle industry. Global warming and loss of habitat threatens the future survival of Polar bears, penguins, walruses, sea turtles, frogs and toads.

Deep sea trawling indiscriminately destroys the coral and plants on the bottom of the ocean.  Large nets and long-line fishing are rapidly reducing the dwindling population of fish. Birds, sea turtles, dolphins, porpoises and other fish are the victims and discards of bycatch.

Our inner silence is bombarded by the sounds of traffic, cell-phones, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, airplanes, boom boxes, and the sounds of never ending construction. It is sometimes difficult to hear the birds, or to have a quiet moment outside of our own homes.

Light pollution dims our view of thousands of stars, and affects the health and welfare of plants, animals and people.

The very existence of our earth and all of its creatures is threatened by global warming.

Stargazers ©2010 Marian Osher, acrylic painting with dream catchers, 40 x 30

Creating and Sharing Eco Art
Since 2006, I have chosen to work with solvent free water-soluble media in printmaking and painting.  My 2007 solo show “Earth Matters” at the Washington Printmakers Gallery (Washington, DC) and my 2008 solo show “Dream Quest” at the Ceres Gallery (NYC) highlighted a diverse range of environmental issues including global warming, threatened biodiversity, forest destruction, mountain top removal, and light and noise pollution.  Take home literature  from environmental organizations concerned with the issues was available to viewers at the shows.  Both shows offered the opportunity for dialog with viewers about the environment.  I gave an artist’s talk at the Washington Printmakers Gallery about environmental issues and the media used to produce the artwork. In 2007, I was happy to give Environmental Defense Fund permission to use my artwork for the cover of their Pocket Seafood Selector, which helps consumers to make environmentally sound seafood choices.

I believe that educated awareness and passionate concern, combined with group and individual actions are the pathways to preserving life on this planet.  I also feel that environmental art (eco art) can deepen the viewer’s personal connection with the importance of living in harmony with non-human creatures and the natural resources of our only earth.  I hope that this blog entry will inspire other artists to create art that raises awareness of environmental red flags.

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