By Julia L. Wright
Manitou Springs Art Council and Commonwheel Artists Co-op Present
Responding to Climate Change through Art
Opening Reception Friday, March 6, 5—8 pm
March 6—30, 2020
A gallery show to encourage people to rethink their relationship with the environment using beautiful or controversial imagery.
Manitou Springs Art Council (MSAC) will curate a gallery exhibition in March of 2020 to be held at the Commonwheel Artists Co-op Gallery in Manitou Springs.
Climate change is one of the topics that makes people want to turn off and disengage. It shouldn’t be that way. So, what can ART do?
Sometimes, you need more than just the facts and data to really bring home the reality of the impeding climate crisis. You need to make an emotional connection – and what better way to do it than through the power of ART?
With that thought in mind, the Manitou Springs Arts Council (MSAC) has invited artists to use their talents to create art around the theme of the climate crisis and frame it in ways that result in emotional, beautiful, and stirring images. This gallery show offers a chance to use art to create an emotional story that can inspire people to promote environmental awareness. During the month of March artists will be able to share this message and ignite a passion to help prevent further environmental damage.
Climate change is happening, and we know it. Now is the time to address the urgent need to live sustainably within the Earth’s finite resources.
Many people have recommended immediate and far-reaching social, economic and technological responses and yet this isn’t happening. Campaigns for change have had marginal effect on our political leaders. So, what, if anything, can the arts do?
Environmental art has the power to change the way we view our world, where we are in life and what our responsibilities are. Artists will use their creativity to explore the ubiquitous and unnerving imagery of climate change and have the freedom to delve into causes, importance, hoax or not, impact on civilization, other culprits, various types of pollution, or how the humankind has historically created changes to make the environment less important than money or pleasures. The artwork in this show is meant to create images that will encourage people to rethink their relationship with the Earth and its creatures.
If a room in your house is on fire, you don’t just see that room in danger, but your whole house needs immediate action to protect it from being destroyed. It's all connected. How we live our lives is closely related to the state of our entire planet.
Nature strives for balance. Sadly, the rate at which humans are moving carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and destroying forests by clear-cutting or fires, has surpassed Earth’s ability to maintain balance. It’s easier to think about nature as something that is always there for us rather than something we need to tend to. In this exhibition artists will tell stories with images to inspire new visions and new choices for creating a balanced Earth.
This does not have to be just a dark and sad story. Artists have been invited to share and envision concepts of positive actions and initiatives that can be created around the world. The exhibition will offer viewers a chance to not to only ponder climate change, but inspire the visitor, as a consumer and citizen, with the idea that they can make a difference and contribute to change through the choices they make. It will offer new ways to think about our environment and climate change and our own place in all of that.
These are just a few of the images that will be shown in the “Responding to Climate Change Through Art” gallery show.
Audrey Gray using elements of the earth to depict the beauty of the world around us. That beauty is sometimes obscured by dark clouds or fires that have ravaged the hillsides. Her art is totally environmentally friendly. She uses all sorts of natural materials in her work including dirt and sand, clay, seeds, sticks, shells, grass, and more that she gathers from near her home and wherever she travels.
Artist Kelly Green will be sharing paintings and other art inspired by photos and videos that she has been taking almost daily in Colorado for the past 2 and a half years documenting ongoing Climate Engineering/Weather Engineering in the skies above. Kelly became an accidental Climate Engineering awareness activist when she decided to share images on Instagram that she had of the sky going back to 2009. Instead, the account became a daily record of visible weather engineering. She will also be sharing some of photos and videos from the @Bringbackblueskies Instagram that inspires them. She hopes to raise awareness about Solar Geoengineering/Solar Radiation Management, (SRM) programs so that the public can have a better understanding and a say about whether or not they consent. Solar Geoengineering programs are currently still being denied but also promoted heavily as a Plan B for climate to "buy some time".
Solar Geoengineering attempts to create a temporary cool down by blocking the sun with stratospheric aerosol injections, (SAI), but is escalating the damage to the environment at an alarming rate by trapping heat, escalating overall warming, disrupting the hydrological cycle and destroying the ozone layer. Kelly will also be sharing some of the photos and videos from @Bringbackblueskies.
"The Scream of Nature 1/Flammagenitus & SAI " and "The Scream of Nature 2/SAI" were inspired by Edvard Munch's "The Scream of Nature".
Munch created different versions of this image, of which seven are remaining; two paintings, two pastels and 3 lithograph prints.
Kelly plans on creating 7 versions overall as a tribute to Munch and in protest of Geoengineering.
There are different interpretations of Munch's inspiration for the red sky in the scream. Munch himself recalled that he had been out for a walk at sunset when suddenly the setting sunlight turned the clouds "a blood red". He sensed an ‘infinite scream passing through nature'.
Scholars have suggested that the sky in The Scream could have been inspired by the ash in the stratosphere from the Krakatau 1883 volcanic eruption because fine ash tends to scatter shorter blue-violet wavelengths of light, and the remaining spectrum getting through is dominated by longer wavelength red to orange portions of the spectrum. There are also paintings by William Ashcroft in England during the Fall of 1883 after the August 26-27th eruption of Krakatau that show vivid red sunsets as a result of ash injection to the stratosphere. The 1883 eruption and eyewitness accounts of atmospheric phenomena following that eruption actually taught us quite a bit about stratospheric wind circulation patterns. The ash from Kraktau circled the globe in about two weeks following the event, then spread both north and south into both hemispheres.
In connection to Climate Engineering, Solar Geoengineering Climate Scientists have been inspired by the ash from Volcanic eruptions and hope to replicate the cooling through the use of Stratospheric Aerosol Injections which seek to replicate very large eruptions because, "they blast millions of tonnes of reflective sulphate particles into the stratosphere. These particles circulate the planet on the powerful stratospheric winds, reflecting away a small amount of inbound sunlight and cooling the planet for a year or two."
Polar Bears are desperately hanging onto a tiny floating piece of ice as oil rigs send poisonous gases into the air and oil floating on the ocean burns behind them. “Raft of the Doomed Ursine” by Ed McKay is a powerful image that will make anyone viewing it think hard about ways we could change our habits to save their habitat.
At least three images will share the concept of wildfires raging around the world that are threatening the habitat of many creatures and contributing to the heating of the earth and adding massive amounts of carbon monoxide to the atmosphere. The forests are the lungs of the earth, and we are allowing them to disappear by fire and deforestation in many areas around the world.
“Starry, Starry Night” by Ed McKay is frighteningly beautiful example of a creature trapped in a forest with fires raging all around it. Even if this moose was to survive, his habitat would be totally destroyed, and he would have little chance of survival for much longer. It is hard to imagine how many creatures are now extinct because of the fires in Australia, Africa and the Amazon. How many more will we lose if we don’t start taking action to save their home environment?
“My Home Is on Fire, Please Take Action to Avoid a Climate Crisis” by Julia L. Wright depicts a squirrel as Nature’s representative who is begging for help from the Ogre in charge. People need to speak up for Nature to get our government back on track to respect the need for clean air, water and soil. Our representatives need to start putting those concerns before the requests of greedy corporations focused on profits now, with no respect for the way it will affect future generations.
All three images share the concept of fires burning up our earth and contributing to a not too distant Climate Crisis.