Zea Mays Printmaking presents Green to the Extreme, an exhibition featuring multimedia printmaking works by 38 member artists about the environmental, political, social and personal issues related to natural resource exploitation – its forms and its consequences, including its effect on art making and human life.
These are the works in the exhibition, listed in alphabetical order by artist.
…but Man, proud Man
Double-sided drawing,in beeswax,powdered pigments,ink, &lithography on Japanese Igarashi Kozo handmade paper
This piece is a metaphysical & existential cry of “why?”– why the exploitation of our earth & her peoples continues unabated, knowing what we know. As is usual in my work, I excavate the past for inspiration. In this case, the past takes the forms of both the text, Shakespeare’s, and the drawing, mine, from 1999, re-imagined for our time, this place.
“…But Man, proud Man Dress’d in a little brief authority, Most Ignorant of what he’s most assur’d – His glassy essence — like an angry ape Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven As make the angels weep.”
-William Shakespeare Measure for Measure ©1604
Altered Mind: Seething Chaos
recycled book, monotypes, lithographic plates & mixed media
Altered Mind is an exploration of the altered mind and bodily manifestations experienced by a person living with Parkinson’s disease. Gradual mental and physical changes can be the result of exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, and other toxic contaminants found in the air, ground, and groundwater.
It’s important to note that while pesticides, herbicides, and other toxic contaminants don’t cause Parkinson’s, environmental toxin exposure may be one of the triggering factors for the disease in a person genetically susceptible to it.
These synthetic chemicals not only disrupt ecosystems within nature, they also disrupt the ecosystem within the human body. An altered mind emerges. In making an altered book, a similar transformation occurs; the result is closely linked to the original, but reconfigured. Altered book / altered mind.
Our appetites have been voracious. As humans have multiplied, every ecosystem on earth has been altered to provide us with sustenance, comfort, ease, beauty and–for some–mountains of stuff. Our rampaging consumption has caused an environmental crisis that threatens everything.
Can we choose to limit all of our appetites, including what we eat? Food is an urgent issue now that there’s so much evidence that changing our diet could significantly reduce the causes of this climate crisis. Some animals are our beloved companions while the rest are considered to be a natural resource to be consumed with gusto. Each year over 55 billion land and sea animals are killed to feed Americans; that’s 1,753 animals slaughtered every second in this country. Other animals die as collateral damage to our appetites for speed and for space. What could we change in our own lives in order to allow our fellow animals to live and flourish?
An Ode Extracted From the Goldmine of My Heart : Celebrating the Splendor of Darkness
Woodblock print, rubbings, photocopy transfer, minerals, industrial felt
In these times, layer upon layer of hardship has beset humans and flora and other fauna of the Earth. Consciousness has been jolted by this onslaught. Pain abounds.
A shift in perspective can allow for celebration without ignoring or dismissing the challenging realities that surround us. This piece is one possible avenue of such celebration. It lauds the splendor of DARKNESS itself – the darkness of surface, of inner space, of outer space, of skin tone, of central core. It brings darkness to the fore.
And it brings attention to the stunning beauty of MINERALS that are mined from the dark central core of the Earth. The extraction of these minerals is most often accomplished with no respect for the integrity of the Earth herself. In fact a driving force behind the extraction is a willful aggression and greed that leaves behind ruination and poison.
Still the substances themselves retain their strengths, revealing shape and form and color and texture and crystalline structure that, if carefully regarded can reveal the nature of the Life Force and help sustain an enthusiasm for continuous survival.
reused copper plates
Copper is an integral part of my printmaking. I use it to make etchings. I love everything about it – the color, the way my tools grab the surface and glide through the metal, the pink glow I see when I am wiping ink onto it. Yet, it comes with a high price. Copper mining is the cause of massive environmental destruction. Mine workers suffer from terrible diseases and a violent history of struggle for labor rights. Indigenous peoples’ land was stolen and stripped bare in search of this ubiquitous ore.
The Pit investigates copper mining at the Anaconda Copper Mine in Butte, MT. My husband’s family is from Montana and I visited the mine and the Berkeley Pit, the vast lake of poisons left over from a century of mining.
The process of creating The Pit has been an awakening to the rippling consequences of using a material I love.
Rachel Atkinson Chapman
Some Useful Trees, I – VI
Collage using scraps of wood-cut prints, watercolor paintings, fabric, with hand embroidered elements
The inspiration for this work comes from a 1950’s Boy Scouts manual with an entry on “Useful Trees.” It explores the overuse and destruction of resources deemed useful. By using materials that would otherwise have gone in the recycling bin–proofs of prints, failed paintings, extras from large print editions–I am exploring art-making as it is done in circumstances where supplies are not endless. What is treasured is preserved. The small size and time consuming creation of these pieces is purposeful and a nod to how utterly overwhelmed I feel by the scale of climate change. What else can one do then try and limit our own impact on resources and treasure what we have? The use of patchwork and needlework brings a counterpoint to the argument that our salvation from climate crisis lies in new technology. A focus on thoughtful use & re-use rather than consumption will also be necessary.
The History of a Mouth (detail)
Intaglio with drypoint (using recycled plates, paper, and ink)
When thinking about the continued extraction of the earth’s limited resources I feel overwhelmed, so I have narrowed my focus and created a piece which directly connects to my personal use of mined resources. I did not have to look very far—extracted metals are in my mouth. Most of my teeth have a history, or a connection, to measurements, financial plans, prescriptions, and undesirable memories. As a child, I had many cavities which were repaired with fillings (aka amalgams). The liquid mercury and metal alloy mixture of silver, tin, and zinc was extracted, processed, delivered, stored, mixed, and inserted into each afflicted tooth. In recent years, some of my amalgams have been removed and replaced with a gold alloy. It seems like a reasonable amount of resources until multiplied by a billion people—each with 32 teeth.
What Remains #1
Photopolymer Etching, Chine Colle with hand dyed papers
These landscapes are inherently bleak; empty wasteland where nothing grows. They are expanses that reference personal as well as societal loss. As our daily lives have recently been transformed by a virus that isolates us from one another, and with our political and environmental futures in free fall, one could ask “what remains” for all of us ? In this work I have chosen to repurpose materials (photopolymer plates) and have re-imagined previous work using old cut-off papers to dye for chine colle onlays.
paper made from invasive plant species, etching, cyanotype, steel, mahogany, boat deck fabric
“There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word ’struggle’ from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” –Hopi Elders’ Prophecy
watercolor, monoprint, drypoint on Found Handmade Paper, draped with waxed mulberry rice paper
I was involved in research project regarding the Giant Kelp off the coast of Southern California. This opened up a world of interest to me as the Giant Kelp Beds were slowly dying off. The run-off from the Los Angeles Basin with all the pollution from cemented dry riverbeds brought this warm water and pollution into the bay and along the currents from the Northern and Southern California coasts causing devastation to wildlife, plant life, and the water itself. Activists decided to do something about this. It took them about 2 decades to completely bring the Pacific Ocean back to a healthy environment for the whole wildlife and human community. The Kelp Beds are like an underground forest that brings healthy life and environment to humanity in many forms. This reality of changing the course of devastation was possible and I found hopeful and shows how the earth can heal itself given the opportunity.
45″ x 25″
Relief prints and cotton gloves
These artworks symbolize the human abuse of the Earth and the action needed to protect it for future generations. I utilized gloves and pantyhose because these repurposed materials represent industry, environmental abuse, human toxicity and the façade of perfection. Gloves and pantyhose are also symbolic of protection. My intention was to unify the opposing concepts of abuse/protection, purity/contamination and life/death in these “Swaddling” works.
Sara Farrell Okamura
One Mountain, Two Tales
Silkscreen, oil bar, found map, on remnant paper
The genesis for this image is derived from the toll mining exacts locally, specifically a limestone quarry producing calcium carbonate from calcite ore on one side of the base of Mt. Greylock in Adams MA. Calcium carbonate is used in products ranging from paints, plastics and cement to chewing gums and pharmaceuticals. The effects from these products have, in some cases, been linked to cancer and the process of mining results in deforestation several landfill sites and can affect quality of water in the area. All materials for this artwork were recycled, reused and repurposed.
This work is part of an ongoing series of work entitled The House in the Woods which is exploring the impact of human habitation and activity on the natural landscape. I am attempting to illuminate our deep connections with the natural world and our equally deep confusions about our relationship to the planet we inhabit. This all-paper sculpture Little Boxes references the tensions between beauty/utility and vulnerability/resilience that are inherent in our current intrusions into the natural world. With its dream-like quality, it questions: is this an urban cluster or a wooded green space? The “construction materials” for these little boxes are scraps of prints and other bits of paper that have been hanging around my studio, too good to throw out, waiting for their moment to arrive. What is the good of having a nice house without a decent planet to put it on? – Henry David Thoreau The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery, not over nature but of ourselves. – Rachel Carson
Laser print, silkscreen, rubber stamp, hand color
16 pages, 5.5”x5.5”
This zine explores visible mending and repair of clothing and other mass-produced textiles. Specific mending techniques are paired with various motivations for this work. Overarching environmental concerns about the textile industry are, rightly, ever-present in the contemporary discourse around repair. This zine argues that for each individual project of repair, other priorities and considerations also come into play. From personal finances, through intentional acts of care, to respect for labor, these considerations are layered and stitched together in the hand work of restoring a garment.
Remnants: Pickled nose elephant
monoprints with collage and mushroom spores
A head with a history, a giraffe with a red head and blue transfer drawn elephants. Did you know that there are traces of elephants in our parking lots? My prints have mushroom spores found in my garden, in forests, in fields. Each one is unique and each one is an experiment. At the end of last fall, the spores were so lush they let everything go. The spores are transparent in their beauty, life is gorgeous in their mess. My ghost prints, pulled from my plexi plate after a first pass, are where I place the spores. The spores touch on life and loss. The spores breath and sigh. I collage on these prints with color saturated, reused stencils. I collage blue organic shapes evocative of a flying elephant with a pickled nose. Through repetition, my prints invoke a place of memory. They are reflections on life and death cycles of a cherished world.
The Death of Prometheus
The Death of Prometheus: Sacrifice in the name of science.
The issue I examine is the notion of humankind’s dominion over plants and animals, specifically in the name of science. My focus is the untimely destruction of the 5,000-year-old Great Basin bristlecone pine nicknamed Prometheus and recorded as WPN-114. And though I concentrate on this particular incident, I believe that the mindset that enabled this annihilation is the source of the global environmental crises we face.
A sequence of three printed images is accompanied by texts from three different sources. These are sampled from the writings of environmentalist Darwin Lambert, dendrochronologist Rex Adams, and geology graduate student Donald Currey, who spearheaded the cutting down in 1964 of the oldest known living organism on earth.
Last September I was the 2019 Darwin Lambert artist in residence at Great Basin National Park, Nevada. I was very moved by the eloquence and lifestyle modeled by Lambert and by his outrage against the killing of Prometheus–and against the commodification of resources in general. The blocks (from a BIG ink project of a few years ago) are printed on 22”x23” sheets of the Wall Street Journal. I hand lettered the text, using black walnut ink (from my yard) on paper grocery bag sheets.
My interest in this topic has been long-simmering. As a wildlife biology student I saw a lot of methods that disturbed me. Standard practices included electrocution of fish in small ponds to count the number of species, and the maiming of small mammals so they could be identified when re-captured. We were taught how to taxidermy animals, and in labs I have seen drawers upon drawers of so-called “study skins”–vast collections of birds and mammals that have been captured and suffocated. To acknowledge that, on the bottom of each page of text I include a sketch of a red-shafted flicker (a resident of Great Basin National Park) in a position that reinforces the message of the text and image. The three woodcuts depict the bristlecone pine through the following imagery: in its habitat below Wheeler Peak; the tree with Donald Currey climbing upon it; and a portion of the dead tree that resides in a laboratory in Arizona. I used historic photos from Lambert’s book Great Basin Drama as reference material for the first two images.
Dry point, monoprint & paint on old prints & paper bags
I’ve always loved trees and craved their company. Globally, forests help balance the earth’s ecosystems. The trees store moisture, stabilize soil, and absorb carbon dioxide while releasing oxygen.
Recent scientific studies reveal that trees communicate with each other through their roots. Mature trees protect young offspring by sharing nutrients and spreading their canopy to shelter weaker neighbors. In some places, trees form vast communication networks that help keep the forest strong and healthy.
When trees are randomly cut down to accommodate industry, commercial farming, and human habitation, we not only lose the trees that are cut. The vitality of the forest that remains is weakened by the disruption in communication.
The multi-media prints in this series are my effort to honor trees as they talk to each other. Some are printed on recycled paper bags and some reuse old prints as a base for the artwork.
ink, smoke, charred paper
The mono-prints in this “Ravaged” series reveal a chronological narrative of my emotional response to the unmitigated power of wildfires which began ravaging vast expanses of land and forests in California, Brazil and Australia in the summer and fall of 2019. What began as a series of prints to memorialize the destruction and after-effects of the charred forest-scape, soon turned into more potent imagery. As the fires raged, I began to use actual fire and smoke in the work to show the chaotic frenzy of a world on fire both environmentally and politically. The world-wide effects of climate change insidiously creep into our lives as we disregard and abuse our planet. Humans have become the victims of forces more potent than what we are able to comprehend or control.
linocut, woodcut, polyester lithography, thread on map
Humans create maps to communicate how space is to be used. While these divisions may begin as theoretical; over time, people make these projected boundaries real through their actions. For example: a particular space is measured and labeled “park.” By naming and mapping it, many people recognize this area as “park.” They interact with this land in a way that separates it from the surrounding territory, because if this space is “park,” then what surrounds it is therefore “not park” – maybe it becomes a road or a parking lot, and plants and animals become increasingly confined to the space designated “park.” In this work, I capture how land which once shifted gradually in response to natural forces now changes abruptly, often with dire implications for other life forms which have no say in how space is used by humanity.
Elisa Lanzi, with stitching assistance from Janet Poirrier
Recycled denim blue jeans, vintage linen scraps, clothing labels, litho monotype collage, handmade blue jeans pulp paper, thread, Akua ink
9 page book
After reading “Fashionopolis” by Dana Thomas I was motivated to learn more about the high cost of low cost clothing. I found out that the fast fashion industry has had a devastating effect on humans and our environment. The impact is felt most egregiously in Bangladesh, China and India, centers for the manufacturing of blue jeans but also extends to our overflowing landfills as we blithely discard yesterday’s fashions. Unsafe conditions for low-paid workers, toxic chemicals dumped into rivers combined with ungodly amounts of water used in the process are adding up to an ecological catastrophe. Stone Washed speaks to these forces as I reckon with the real cost of my own closet full of “cheap” jeans. Inspired by the format of vintage children’s cloth books. I am using the bespoke denim material to draw attention to the grim realities of fast fashion.
400 Years Later
Collaged print, muslin, wood, oyster shells, thread, watercolor, felt tip pen, acrylic paint
I own a large embroidery of the historic ship Mayflower my mother sewed in the 1940s and chose to reinterpret the typical Pilgrim story many of us learned as young
Most significant in my printing process are the rubbings I did directly from the embroidery. I put a paper on top of the embroidery and rubbed with an inked charged brayer. I also created some small lithographs made from reduced size photographs of the embroidery. These are seen in some of the collaged pieces. I added stitching to enhance and create a connection to my mother’s handwork. The muslin is sourced from family grain sacks. The shelf is from a family furniture making shop. The oyster shells are from Massachusetts waters.
I chose to tell a story of conflict between the Pilgrims and the indigenous inhabitants
who lived along the eastern coast of what is now Massachusetts. I wanted to recognize the loss and grief of a native way of life that was continually threatened and displaced and virtually destroyed.
The events of this year have unfolded before our eyes combining the horror of the pandemic and social unrest protesting systemic racism, police brutality and white supremacy. I feel a connection between these events and my Mayflower project.
The passengers who sailed on the Mayflower were not bad people. They did what they had to to survive. Very shortly after they established the colony, they needed
more and more land and resources and fought a war (King Philip’s War, 1675-1676)
to obtain them. The following four centuries of war, violence, exploitation and racism define American history.
Humankind’s inattention to the responsibility to protect, conserve and restore the natural environment of which we are all a part, has placed the planet on a trajectory of degradation that threatens the well-being of all, especially the poor and powerless. That individual and collective responsibility must be reaffirmed and activated if our species is to survive.
My practice focuses exclusively on the monotype, a printmaking technique using an uninscribed plate and producing single one-of-a-kind prints.
The prints here were created using freely drawn grids of overlapping colors, with no preconceived image in mind. This accidental or “automatic” method, pioneered by Andre Breton and others in the 1920s, can open a direct portal to the subconscious of both artist and viewer. Coupled with the more rigid organization of the grid, the approach mysteriously produces suggestive imagery that often can be interpreted in multiple ways.
Indelible no. 2
Monotype with chine collé, pencil, thread on handmade paper
The grid—evenly spaced horizontal and vertical lines—has been imposed on nature since humans searched for ways to chart and control their world. Extraction industries still rely on this system of mapping, often with irreparable damage: clearly visible seismic grids created during oil exploration at the edge of Area 1002 of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one example. As a consumer, I benefit from the violent process of discovering and removing natural materials from our earth. As an artist and printmaker, I choose to consume an additional amount of extracted materials in my use of paper and ink. I began the Indelible series by making paper from my stash of discarded prints and book pages. Then, using as few additional materials as possible, my goal was to highlight and mourn these eternally-scarred landscapes.
Shifting Landscape (Natural Scape 5)
Natural pigment painting on natural, handmade ink monotype
This painting/print pulls together many elements that I have been passionate about and working on for the past three years: a dream-inspired landscape motif, handmade natural inks, and natural pigments. All of the inks in the underlying monotypes were created by me from plant materials found on walks and hikes. Some of the natural pigments used were foraged, ground and sifted by me. I’ve created landscapes that do not harm the land, thus achieving a goal that has become very important to me. Additionally, the artwork will actually shift with time. The dyes in the monotype will change and fade over time, but the pigment painting will most-likely not change. So the images presented will mirror their inspiration: a landscape of shifting clouds and sea framed by the solidity of the horizon and land masses.
Therese Dwyer Moriarty
I AM EARTH
Watercolor monotype, collagraphs,transfer prints, found materials
This body of work looks at the local sandstone quarrying industry from the Earth’s point of view. My series consists of four pieces depicting my concept of Earth’s peaceful evolution, Her suffering during the extraction years, and Her development towards a more balanced existence. This collection is inspired by the land adjacent to my property. As I walked this conservation land for the first time, I felt transformed to an other-worldly place. This was not suburbia. This striking spot had canyon-like piles of stone towering above deep, dark water, caves, and tossed boulders of dark reddish-brown along the wooded paths. I wanted the artwork to look at the history as a cycle of existence, mingling the pride of the residents with the beauty and anguish of the Earth, so there are multi-media elements in the mostly watercolor monotypes and collagraphs. I worked with found materials, leftover prints, and handmade papers.
I am EARTH, I am Glorious Savor my wondrous beauty and strength Show me love and support Respect me. I am EARTH, I am Delicate. Swarms are attacking, pain as you rip me apart and pillage Why do you parasites keep coming and taking, taking, taking… Help me! I am EARTH, I am Damaged. You have ravaged me for your human money goal I am EARTH, I am crying. You have left me vulnerable. You left. I am EARTH, I am Healing. You have taken what you wanted and left I am scarred but I will recover My Majesty will survive WILL YOU?
Birds Face Obstacles
Monotype, intaglio, collograph, mixed media, recycled copper, plastic, and paper plates, previously printed paper, dirt, soot
As humans have taken matter from the earth, redistributed and made things from it, built cities, bridges, roads, dams to divert rivers, we’ve also dumped our waste in the soil, the air, the streams, rivers, and oceans. All species suffer, birds among the most visibly.
Our beloved birds have lost habitats from deforestation and urban development, been poisoned by pollution, starved from insect depopulation, and threatened by technology in the air, the ground, and the seas.
In this group of prints, I’ve tried to depict these threats with printmaking techniques that align with that content: deforestation and collage, pollution with inks made from dirt or soot, salt mixed into ink describing the ocean. Plates, or substrates are previously used, or come from my recycling bin: waxed or laminated paper boxes, plastic containers.
I love the birds. I want them to survive. What can we do to help make that happen?
Intaglio prints on paper adhered to birch boards
These images were photographed on Patan Square, Kathmandu after the 2015 Earthquake. Initially, I wished to symbolize the loss of life from the quake. I chose to connect my work to the extraction of oil from the earth, and how the water waste from oil extraction contributes to earthquakes. As I worked, these images took on a more expansive meaning, symbolizing the considerable loss of human life due directly and indirectly to countless “extractions” globally. These include consumer societies that are voraciously draining the earth of natural resources to satisfy an insatiable need for material goods and comforts. All of this activity leads to forests dying, the oceans being drained of fish, natural disasters, and climate change. As a result, people are migrating, in search of a place on earth where they can have a viable life. The shadows in the images represent the value, and the aspirations, of each human being.
Accordion fold book built over CD covers; monoprint and collagraph embossings using various textures and objects; gouache and rubber stamps
My artist book will give the viewers an opportunity to confront and address their own complicity in our cycle of consumption. Humans have been extracting precious minerals, metals, oil, gas and coal from the earth for centuries.We devour and discard these resources almost without notice, so ingrained are they in our culture of constant consumption, planned obsolescence, and disconnection from the earth itself. Progressive politics and mantras of “reduce, reuse, recycle”, do not prevent us from using items made from or with extracted resources sometimes on a daily basis. We are not exempt from being complicit in the destruction of the earth.
Annie G. Rogers
All for This: Variant Prints and a Poem
Intaglio and Pastel Transfer Prints
Print Grid: 23″x22″
All for This
All that is extracted is not copper. A cent
by all account, is small. And don’t forget
the burnished kettle, and the copper bell.
Now being visible is just the thing
to get me thinking of assent…
And the printmakers, engraving by the hour,
“Intaglio, en tagliare,” to cut, cut out.
Yet I mourn the taking of the ore.
Down into the dark they went, Irish men all
along the Copper Coast.
Into the darkness of the mine they went
– the invisible, the secret, the out of sight.
Here is under-land, cyan, teeming with water;
embroidered mosses mark the hole above
the gray silence of the sky;
And the voice of water dripping, rushing.
A little wild ray of light sinks
in the cool black jacket of the mine;
And, arcing the marvelous, he sinks.
For more than he will ever earn, he is taken
far from the sap green world above.
Shadows from his candle-hat dance, light
jumps, gleams on the long river below;
his body, hemmed by chimaeras,
hangs in the black gallows of space.
The darkness lets him sail in velvet space
sunlight in yellow-blue awakenings. Even
in his bed, falling backward into sleep, he hangs there.
And for what? A hundred years hence, my copper plates
this circle and this egg?
Annie G. Rogers
Intaglio, Collograph & Chine Colle
I think of these prints as maps that point to a time and place where we exist in co-operation with our environment instead of in opposition to it. In these pieces I have re-used discarded objects found on walks I have taken: rusted metal found by the side of railroad racks, birch bark shed in the woods. I used these materials as plates that I inked and printed onto handmade papers, and then adhered onto my intaglio prints.
In making the imagery for these intaglio pieces I tried to leave as much to chance as possible; I left them in my driveway to be run over, I splattered them with ferric chloride and covered them with sawdust for a month to etch. I have been trying to pay more attention to what is discarded, to the detritus all around us and remake these findings into something else. The natural world dies and remakes itself over and over again. As it morphs from one form to another, nature offers itself as an example of the possibilities of transformation. It allows us to catch a glimpse into a truth we cannot always name, because it is this transformation that can show us something on the other side of human reasoning and willpower, and provides another alternative to binary and divisive human reasoning. These pieces reference a way in which to see the world as a symbiotic entity instead of an infinite resource to be exploited for one specie’s perceived needs. Trees shed their bark to the forest floor. Decomposing husks are host to hundreds of crawling, flying and burrowing creatures and organisms. Trees clean the air and make oxygen, create rich soil, cycle water from earth to sky and back again.
As vital resources are vanishing daily from our planet, the need to pay attention to what the natural world already knows becomes imperative. All we need to do is look around us to see an ongoing free exchange from species to species, a model of how to give back more resources than are taken. The environment we inhabit is asking for our attention. What happens when we listen?
Edda Valborg Sigurðardóttir
Single Use Plastic Birds
Prints, cardboard, single-use 6-pack plastic rings, stamps
Producing plastic rings requires using petroleum—around 8% of global oil production is used to make plastic. Almost 700 animal species are known to have been harmed by ocean plastic, and every year, around 18 billion pounds of plastic flows into the ocean. Forty percent of that is single-use plastic—plastic that is used once and then thrown away. Plastic rings have been available for four decades, and they are now more heavily regulated than they were when first produced. That is a good direction for the environment. Scientists have described microplastics as a kind of “plastic soup,” and studies say that anywhere from 15 to 50 trillion pieces of microplastic are in the ocean. In one beach clean-up on the Oregon coast, volunteers picked up 1,500 six-pack rings in the course of a few hours.
Become Tree #1
I recently reserved a location in a local cemetery where I could have a green burial. These prints reflect my sense of being in the presence of the beech tree that marks the grave site; my wonder about the growth and pattern that I recorded by making charcoal rubbings of the bark and roots of this tree, and my increased sense of the arc and depth of time. There is a celebration in the moment of transitions too. Moving into or out of darkness, could be seen either as the darkest point or the moment where light returns. I am being literal about becoming tree eventually and doing so with the least harm to the earth. The title “Become Tree” is an homage to the composer John Luther Adams and particularly his works Become Ocean and Become Desert.
Photo Intaglio, Film Positive Insert
Like a canary in a coal mine, amphibians are extremely sensitive to changes in the environment. Road networks can sever corridors between habitats and create isolated populations. The fragmentation of amphibian habitats can cause a decrease in genetic diversity which leaves populations more vulnerable to disease and environmental catastrophe. Amphibians also have low dispersal rates and roads, acting as barriers, reduce their available habitat. On a positive note, asphalt pavement is one of the most recycled materials in the U.S. and the first amphibian tunnels to aid safer migration in North America were constructed in Amherst, MA.
This work is made from recycled prints that were hand cut. The inserts are plastic sheets used in the photopolymer process. The work is in recycled frames accented with used photopolymer plates and weighted by chunks of asphalt.
Accordion fold artists’ book (unique edition)
12”x5” (closed); 12”x43” (open)
I made “White Trash” as a way of examining all of the household refuse that normally leaves my house on a weekly basis. The instigation was an energy audit of my condo that was carried out in December 2019. Although virtually every light bulb in the condo was replaced with more energy efficient and long-lasting bulbs, I was told that the old bulbs—a sackful of them—were my responsibility to dispose of.
I decided to use them as an activation point for an artists’ book, one that would require extended spines to accommodate all the three-dimensional objects housed within. Some of the objects I recycled into the book—the smashed light bulbs (with glass extracted), plastic container caps, scrap metal, dead insects, contact lens packaging, scrap wood, a broken kitchen knife, torn up failed prints, a bit of hair from my first pandemic haircut—were things that would have left my home as recyclable or standard trash and instead were repurposed onto book pages.
At first I was worried that I would not have enough material for a large book, but quite the opposite is true. The loaded title was chosen as a way to reload the phrase “white trash,” to reference the fact that industrialized/developed states create the vast majority of the world’s trash and also to reference an advertising and marketing strategy commonly used by the manufacturers of domestic appliances and fixtures in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, namely identifying the color white with hygiene and cleanliness. The resulting pages of the book, which seem to function both compositionally and archaeologically, have made me reflect on the amount of stuff that passes through my life in a kind of consumer and materialist peristalsis.
Janet Walerstein Winston
Strip Mining’s Harm to the Environment
recycled monotypes, plastic bottle, foam core, ribbon, fish skeletons on x-rays
Environmental damage to the planet is always on my mind. Strip mining feels as if the earth has been raped and ravaged leaving it raw and open to the elements.
Strip mining destroys landscapes, forests and wildlife habitats. In the process of stripping mountain tops to reach the layers of coal, trees, plants and topsoil are cleared away from the areas creating severe soil erosion and destroying the surrounding agricultural land reducing its fertility, damaging homes and roads. When rains wash the loosened topsoil, along with chemicals emitted from the mines it allows pollutants to flow into streams and rivers and leach toxins into groundwater. These pollutants contaminate the entire food chain and destroy nature’s delicate balance.
My aim with this project is to show the path of this environmental catastrophe through the use of recycled materials, including discarded monotypes.
Esther S. White
The pancake alarm is going off
Collagraph; tencel maternity pants and acrylic media on recycled plastic plates
Keeping house is like filling a bucket with a hole in it that no one else can see.
I made the prints displayed here while I carried my second child. I thought about motherhood, housework, thrift, self-care, maternal ambivalence, being invisible/on display, slowing down, looking inward.
Discarded clothing can conjure loss, grief, memory, growth, or the friction between touch and sight. The maternity pants I had saved from my first pregnancy failed; the seat ripped open almost as soon as I put them back on. Using “the maternity pants that couldn’t” and recycled plates from an older series of self-portraits, I developed a body of work reflecting the then-invisible transformation taking place inside of me.
Oil on repurposed plywood shipping crate panels
Single-use packaging is one of the more destructive inventions of our current culture. In this series, I am extending the life of shipping crates destined for construction dumpsters after one use. A lot of labor goes into the preparation of the rough inside surface: removing protective layers, sanding, and applying oil ground. To emphasize the industrial nature of the panels, I leave the knot holes (accented with red) and industrial staples. The surface is then painted and relief printed in oils. My subject matter is plates on a table, referring to people who gather and their relationships with one another.
“Last Supper” is a diptych which can be hung vertically with two rows of chairs facing each other, or horizontally in one long line, more reminiscent of Leonardo’s version. The table pattern was inspired by a Last Supper fresco from 13th century Spain.
Big Sky – Trap It, Shoot It, Mine It, Get Out (3-7-77)
etching, cotton muslin, copper sulfate dye, metallic thread
3’x77’’ hung 7’ parallel above the floor
In 2005 I found myself at the edge of the Berkeley Pit in Butte, MT. An impressive purple lake of water so toxic that geese landing on the surface begin to die immediately. This lake is man-made; the remnants of open pit mining. I stood there thinking: “who could have left this mess?” In finding out more about the history of the Berkeley Pitt the name Frank Little came up. Little was an IWW organizer who was lynched in Butte MT in 1917 trying to organize the miners. No one was ever brought to justice for his murder. It is presumed that the Anaconda Mining Company was involved. The company that had a strangle hold on mining in Montana and would bring open pit mining to Butte in 1955 and leave the legacy of the Berkeley Pit. On Little’s grave it says “Slain by Capitalist Interests for Organizing and Inspiring His Fellow Men.”
Many of the works in the exhibition are for sale. Inquire here