June 17, 2013

Art and Biodiversity Partnership and Biodiversity Loss

"The Art and Biodiversity Partnership brings together artists, scientists, conservation experts, students and the public to raise awareness of the links between Art and Biodiversity. We want to encourage action through the arts and to widen awareness of the current biodiversity crisis, stimulating discussions and positive responses to this rising crisis. At the same time, we want to contribute in bridging the divide between art and science, looking at new paths of interdisciplinary cooperation." 

The Art and Biodiversity Partnership is based in Norfolk, England, on the east coast, north of London. Their collaborators are an interesting group, truly straddling the art and biodiversity line including: the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the University of East Anglia School of Biological Sciences, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership, and artists. 

They work on a themes of Invasive Alien Species, Climate Change, Habitat Loss, Over-exploitation, and Pollution, a well rounded, and generally agreed upon comprehensive list when thinking about threats to biodiversity. They also list a few projects that they address, such as a summer camp and a basketry exhibit. 

There isn't too much specific information about what they are working on and doing other than the four projects listed on their website. I am not sure if this is because they are a new organization or haven't updated their website in a while. With the sweeping topic of biodiversity loss, there is definitely no lack of inspiration. 

Despite the lack of more specifics, I love that this organization exists. We are in a biodiversity crisis and most people do not even know. There is so much information out there about this topic, but the short of it is that we are in a biodiversity crisis, it is driven by anthropogenic forces including climate change, and biodiversity loss is bad for the environment and bad for us too. But don't take my word for it: The United Nations Secratary General Ban Ki-moon: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=36052#.Ub9qTPmyDb8 or http://www.globalissues.org/article/171/loss-of-biodiversity-and-extinctions or https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/05/28-6
And, just for clarification Biodiversity is the diversity of living things on the cellular, species, and ecosystem levels. 

IUCN 2010

I am personally involved in biodiversity loss in my own art, which started with my Global Amphibian Decline Series, but if anyone is looking for inspiration and/or an important issue to work on, here it is.

Convention on Biological Diversity: http://www.cbd.int/
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature: http://www.iucn.org/
United Nations Decade of Biodiversity: https://www.cbd.int/2011-2020/
European Commission: Nature & Biodiversity: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/index_en.htm
Biodiversity is not a ranking issue with the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

June 6, 2013

June sixth, two thousand thirteen

"I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart."
                                                --Vincent van Gogh

Don't ever give up on your dreams.
Don't doubt.
Do not let others' misconceptions become your own, taint your heart, or slow you down.

Be all that you are.
Be all that you wish to be.
For you can and you are.

Ariel Burgess

June 4, 2013

Roger Peet

"I'm an artist and a printmaker. My work tends to focus on the contemporary crisis of biodiversity and what can and can't be done about it. I'm a member of the Justseed Artists' Cooperative (justseed.org), a group of North American artists producing socially and environmentally engaged artwork."
                  -- Roger Peet

Roger Peet has found an active artist who is involved with organizations like the Center for Biological Diversity and the Justseed Artists Cooperative and other projects. More than many other artists that I know, Peet's work is active and purposeful. Making direct commentary on the global biodiversity crisis and other environmental issues. 

This is an image he was commissioned to complete for the Center of Biological Diversity, a very cool commission!

Roger Peet
"I was recently commissioned by the Center for Biological Diversity (http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/) to design a banner for their new Portland office. They gave me a list of endangered animals that they’ve worked to have listed federally as endangered, and I made them into this image. From left to right: Green Sturgeon, Fender’s Blue Butterfly, Marbled Murrelet, Orca, Wolf, Siskiyou Mountain Salamander, Spotted Owl, Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly, Streaked Horned Lark, Caribou, and Fisher."

These next two were also commissioned by the Center for Biological Diversity. These were designed for their Endangered Species Condoms. 

Roger Peet
The leatherback is the largest of all sea turtles, growing up to seven feet long. They are the last of an ancient line of turtles. Their numbers are declining rapidly wherever they occur, mostly as a result of human activity: they frequently mistake plastic bags for their favorite food, sea jellies, and die when their digestive systems clog with plastic. As a consequence of their decline (and that of other jelly predators) the oceans are filling with enormous jelly blooms.
Roger Peet
Polar Bear
This piece is dear to my heart, because it is about an issue that I have also worked on. It explores the critical connection between social and environmental issues. The ridiculous and unsuccessful war on drugs has been ruining lives from Colombia to the United States for decades. The ongoing violence and illicit cultivation and trade of the drugs is destroying habitat not only in Mexico, but also throughout Central American and the northern South America. Coca cultivation in Colombia is causing deforestation of the rainforest. The illegality of the cultivation of this traditional crop, forces its growers to go deeper and deeper into the forest, cutting down more and more trees and destroying habitat. The severity of this problem let to the Shared Responsibility initiative supported by the Colombian government.

Central America also suffers from habitat loss from the illegal drug trade. The drug cartels, seeking secrecy and security find refuge in the forests and do what they please to make successfully smuggle their product. Acres of forest are cut to make impromptu airstrips for transporting their drugs. 

Not only do I appreciate this piece for its content, it is a elegant and powerful image. Thank you Roger.   

Roger Peet

And then this one, which made me smile. I have been seeing a lot of buzz recently about the possibility of adding insects to our daily diet. Hmmm....

Roger Peet

June 2, 2013


The other day, I went to the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Massachusetts to see the New England Society of Botanical Artists exhibit. It was mostly what you might expect from a show with that title, but there were a number of very beautiful pieces from artists throughout New England. Here are just a few examples of my favorites:

Kate MscGillvary: Georgetown, Maine
Tremetes versicolor (Turkey Tail Mushroom), 2013
Watercolor on paper
Kay Kopper: Pembroke, Massachusetts
Vitis riparia (River Greap), 2012
Watercolor on paper

Lori Waremith: Dover, Massachusetts
Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern Red Columbine, Wild Columbine), 2013
Watercolor on paper

I love lichen and wish I knew more about it. The detail in this one is fabulous.
Jeanne Kunze: Billerica, Massachusetts
Physcia stellaris, Flavoparmelia baltimorensis, Lecanora strobilina, Usnea strigosa, Ramalina americana, Parmelia sulcata x10 (Six Lichens on Pear Twig - Star Rosetta Lichen, Rock Greenshield Lichen, Mealy Rim Lichen, Bushy Bear Lichen, Sinewed Ramalina Lichen, Hammered Shield Lichen), 2008
Watercolor on Yupo

This one was my favorite in the show.
Bobbi Angell: Marlboro, Vermont
Iris versicolor (Blue Flag), 2012
Copper etching (ink on paper)

Maria Bablyak: Woburn, Massachusetts
Celastrus sp (Bittersweet), 2012
Watercolor on paper

I appreciate the background and context in this piece. A nice variation in a show that was mainly single organisms on a white background. Not to say there is not a strong beauty in that simplicity, but as far as curating a show, the variation added to the experience.  

Susan Bull Riley: Montpelier, Vermont
Vaccinium vitis-idaea (& Junco) (Lingonberry), 2013
Watercolor on paper

This is done by my friend and colleague, Joan Pierce. She works for the Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game based out of the Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts office. This is where she hung my Climate Change is a Wood Frog Issue painting that she bought last month. 

Joan Pierce: Quincy Massachusetts
Pinus strobes (Eastern White Pine), 2012
Graphite, oil-based pencil on board