September 8th to October 20, 2021

Augusta Savage Gallery, New Africa House, UMass Amherst, 180 Infirmary Way, Amherst, MA. 

Opening Reception: Friday, September 10, 5-8 PM | Guest Speakers 6 PM

Opening Reception for HFA Participants: Monday, October 4, 5-7 PM 

Printmaking Demo as part of the FAC Autumn Art Walk: Sunday, October 17, 1-3 PM

Rising Waters/Blazing Earth is an exhibition responding to the exploitation of our planet & the concurrent climate crisis. The artists chosen for this exhibition developed their work around specific issues related to this overarching theme, with particular emphasis on the many adverse impacts climate crises have on all people. The exhibition is associated with a pan-global art project, Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss (recently featured in Orion Magazine), “a multimedia, multi-venue, cross-border art intervention that will investigate extractive industry in all of its forms from mining and drilling to the reckless exploitation of water, soil, trees, marine life, and other natural resources.” 

Since its inception in 2000, the core mission of Zea Mays Printmaking (ZMP) is to facilitate the creation of artwork that utilizes methods that focus on environmental sustainability and non-toxic materials. The membership of ZMP is a community of working artists united around a common commitment to create substantive art while attempting to rectify the toxicity of printmaking materials that are most often pillaged from our environment. 

We challenged our community of artists to make artworks employing materials that were repurposed, plundered, rescued, recycled, upcycled, traded, appropriated, or found. To facilitate this concept, Zea Mays Printmaking launched Unlikely Materials Swaps held in September 2019 and February 2020. Members descended on our Studio (Florence, MA) with used materials ranging from scrap papers to used copper and zinc plates that could be sanded down. There were half tubes of ink, wood scraps, plastic pieces, drawing tools and more. One person’s trash became another’s inspiration.

Zea Mays Printmaking has placed a bull’s eye on the unconscious violence of waste and overconsumption in daily routines. Artists have a responsibility to acknowledge their contribution to the degradation of the earth and the social repercussions that result. Every new tube of cadmium red, every recently purchased copper and zinc plate, every newly acquired toxic medium contributes to this irreversible calamity. Through mindful examination of habits and routines day in and day out the capacity to change is inevitably possible. Day to day practices = best practices = social practices. Using our platform as artists, raising a ruckus to save our planet and prevent apocalyptic disasters seems to be the least we can do.

On Friday, September 10, at 6 PM, the opening reception will feature a discussion between Gabrielle Russomagno, photographer and installation artist, and Professor Robert M. DeConto, geoscientist.

The discussion, co-moderated by artists Elisa Lanzi and Lynn Peterfreund, will be guided by the following questions, asked of both participants:

  • When did climate issues become a focus of your attention? 
  • How do you live with what you know as a scientist or an artist? How do you  express that urgency in both graphic and aesthetic ways?
  • How can telling stories about climate change become an important part of our social fabric and sensibility?

Russomagno’s mission as an installation artist to explore social and political themes, and DeConto’s experience serving on international science advisory boards and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, make them uniquely equipped to lead a spirited conversation on the importance of collaboration and urgency.

Visit the gallery website for hours and additional information.