What is Environmental and Green Art?

What is Environmental and Green Art?

Environmental art involves artistic works which have the intent of becoming a part of or enhancing the environment, whilst making a statement on ecological and conservation issues.

Environmental art became increasingly popular in Western societies as issues surrounding the environment arose in the 1950s and 1960s. It was then that artists began to distinguish the developing relationship between man, nature and crucial ecological problems, and the growing awareness of these issues influenced artists to express these concerns in a variety of conservational art forms. 

While environmental art has conventionally focused on ecological issues and political, historical or social context surrounding the environment, today, we see the movement adapt into further artistic expression, including Land Art, Conceptual Art, Earth Art. Notably, there has been a rise of the art of ‘sustainability’, also known as ‘Green Art’.

Green art is the practice of using environmentally friendly, non-toxic and natural materials. Combining these art forms will depend on the artistic intent. For example, tapestry or textile artists can use natural fibres and exhibit their work in natural settings using ecological themes, whilst painters focused on environmental and green art can use sustainable, organic and recyclable materials.

Below, we have explored environment artists and their ecological artworks.

Examples of Green Art:
John Sabraw 'Toxic Sludge Paint'

Huffington Post

Activist and environmentalist John Sabraw is an artist whose paintings, drawings and collaborative installations are all produced in an eco-conscious manner. His ‘sludge’ pieces are created using paint he makes himself. They are a movement to turn pollution into paint. Sabraw uses heavy metals extracts (oxidized sludge) of abandoned coal mines to create these stunning pigments. In turn, he helps to reduce the ongoing pollution affecting our planet. 

Pinterest

‘Junk Artist’ Gabriel Dishaw turns disposed materials into artwork, eloquently promoting reusable materials that have been shamelessly thrown away. Through this, he produces beautifully defined sculptures. Dishaw’s Shoe Series recreate widely popular shoe trends, from Nike to Adidas.

Examples of Environmental Art

Naziha Mestaoui’s ‘Virtual Forest’

DZine Trip

Naziha Mestaoui is a pioneer in digital art, and is both an artist and architect. Her One Beat One Tree art piece projects virtual forests into city spaces. Expressing the very real truths behind the destruction of our natural world, onlookers can connect to these digital trees through their smartphone as they grow in rhythm with a person's heartbeat. The trees have since promoted the growth of 13,000 new saplings.

Olafur Eliasson’s ‘Iceberg’

Icelandic born Olafur Eliasson has confronted climate change through his crystalline movement, Ice Watch. He placed giant melting blocks outside the Tate Modern and Bloomberg headquarters in a bid to raise awareness of the ever-growing issues surrounding climate change. The ice is taken from Greenland’s Nuup Kangerlua fjord, where they had been melting into the ocean.

Hyperallergic

Icelandic born Olafur Eliasson has confronted climate change through his crystalline movement, Ice Watch. He placed giant melting blocks outside the Tate Modern and Bloomberg headquarters in a bid to raise awareness of the ever-growing issues surrounding climate change. The ice is taken from Greenland’s Nuup Kangerlua fjord, where they had been melting into the ocean. 

More, the movement shows us there are better ways to create art that is both unique and innovative by using eco-friendly materials. John Sabraw’s vibrant paints created using metal extracts to reduce pollution production are an unforgettable example of this.

The Importance of Environmental and Green Art

Environmental activists speak out in support for a greener planet and to improve our Earth's natural environment through protection from harmful human activities.

While some protest with their voices, others demonstrate their environmental passion through art. 

Dr. Reiss states that "Art has an important role to play in raising our awareness of environmental issues, offering opportunities for direct action and helping us to imagine other worlds and possible futures.”

Both green and environmental art showcase nature’s wonders and its breathtaking aesthetic, and remind us of something deeper. It is a reminder of the negative environmental impact humankind has on the world.

More, the movement shows us there are better ways to create art that is both unique and innovative by using eco-friendly materials. John Sabraw’s vibrant paints created using metal extracts to reduce pollution production are an unforgettable example of this.

Environmental art is undeniably on the rise and is expected to continue with the increasing issues facing our world's climate. These types of artwork serve a purpose, and send us a clear and concise message that something has to change, and now, to save our planet from further, irreparable destruction. Perhaps through such art works, we can recognise the error of our ways and treat our planet with the love and respect it deserves.

On June 11 2019, Christie’s Education presented a symposium on artists’ response to the environmental crisis. Organised by Dr. Julie Reiss, our Program Director of the M.A. Modern and Contemporary Art and the Market. Julie is also the editor of Art, Theory and Practice in the Anthropocene. The symposium appealed to anyone who wished to know more about specific ways artists have responded to global climate change and its consequences.

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Original article: https://www.christies.edu/news/2019/may/what-is-enviornmental-and-green-art

Christie’s Education is a specialist provider of postgraduate higher education and continuing education in the fields of art history, art business, curating and connoisseurship which places great importance on the practical experience of art through education as the key to professional success.  

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