Sunday, February 6, 2022

I Am Getting Help from My Friends: Old and New

As my research continues for my short film "It's the LIttle Things that Unite Us" I am reaching out to friends and they are responding. I want to share their thoughts with you.

Artist Jeannine Bardo is a very special person. She has introduced me to the arts community in Brooklyn. I met her soon after I moved to Bay Ridge 3 years ago.  It is through Jeannine that I met, among others, BWAC president Alicia Degener and Bay Ridge artist Ellen Izzo Coleman. 

Jeannine and I share an intense love affair with trees, which is a real testament to the trees of Bay Ridge, her home town. I grew up in the woods, I have an excuse!

When I asked Jeannine to identify artists who had created work that visualizes the connection of all life on Earth, her answers really surprised me. Or rather caught me off guard. I was aware of the work of these artists, but only tangentially. 

What I was starting to “see” with these examples provided by Jeannine, is my tendency to be very literal. That in and of itself is not good or bad, but an approach and a way of thinking I need to own. 

Agnes Denes - Wheatfield

With great effort, Agnes and assistants removed rocks and garbage from a landfill. It took 200 hundred truck loads of dirt to prepare the site. Denes then planted and harvested a field of wheat at that location. It was within the sight of Wall Street. Denes explained,

"Wheatfield was a symbol, a universal concept; it represented food, energy, commerce, world trade, and economics. It referred to mismanagement, waste, world hunger and ecological concerns. It called attention to our misplaced priorities." 

Elaborating, she said “Making art today is synonymous with assuming responsibility for our fellow humans. We are the first species that has the ability to consciously alter its evolution, even put an end to its existence. We have gotten hold of our destiny, and our impact on earth is astounding. Because of our tremendous ‘success’ we are overrunning the planet, squandering its resources.

Jeanine's other example was Mel Chin's Revival Field.

Mel Chin, Revival Field, photo by the artist.

I was fascinated by what he had to say about this work. He sees Revival Field as traditional sculpture.

"If that [pollution] could be carved away, and life could return to that soil and then a diverse and ecologically balanced life, then that is a wonderful sculpture. I think there is a profound aesthetic in there, and it’s really simple. But we have to create the chisels, and we have to create the tools, and we have to isolate the problem: where the block of pollution is, so we can carve it away. It became very clear to me that it (Revival Field) would be a sculptural project worth engaging in. And I set upon to finding out more, whether datura could do this—jimsonweed is common."

This is Jeannine's work.  

She feels that all of her artwork reflects our connections to the natural world and to each other. Here is her "Monster 1" as it was being painted at the park and the finished piece.

She states "
I love knowing that there is no separation, that everything is connected" We share the joy and comfort in that knowledge. Thank you, Jeannine for a shift in my vision. This brings me to the Tree of Life as an icon.

More help from my "friends" continues to come. Stay tuned as I am educated and inspired by Darwin and Swoon.

My Anim8Nature showcase on Vimeo is a great way to learn more about my work. Your thoughts always appreciated. 

@kristinharrisdesign    @anim8nature    

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