If you missed seeing this show in person, here’s your chance to check out the exhibit with a full gallery tour of This is the Anthropocene, which included works by Cynthia Siegel, Shannon Sullivan, Jenni Ward, Susan Whitmore & Wesley Wright. If you want to learn more about each of the artists work and the curator’s vision for the show, see below…
The Anthropocene is defined as the current geological age during which human activity has been the dominant influence on the climate and the environment. Curators Cynthia Siegel and Jenni Ward chose to bring together a diverse group of artists whose work has not been grouped together before to explore this concept. The five artists are responding within the themes of Animal, Agriculture, Landscape, Water and Atmosphere, from multiple viewpoints. Using their current bodies of work, the artists have challenged themselves to deepen their consideration of these relevant topics.
While diverse in style and approach, the artists find commonality in the medium of ceramics, with each artist’s inspiration from nature, and with their desire to use their work to bring awareness to the planet’s current state of peril.
For tens of thousands of years, humans have used the abundant earth resource, clay, to increase their chances of survival. From primitive vessels to applications within the high tech industry, clay has paralleled human development and advancement. This shared history makes ceramics a uniquely relevant medium of expression for this exhibition. Each artist uses this humble medium to reveal a unique point of view regarding the impact of the Anthropocene.
As a parallel to the human struggle for survival, Cynthia Siegel is drawn to the tenacity of the bristlecone pine trees that have endured for thousands of years, both because of and despite their fragile environment. With textured surfaces that reflect the intersection of time, weather, growth, and decay, Siegel’s sculptures convey the inseparability of man and nature.
Using aerial and microscopic imagery as a point of interpretive departure, Shannon Sullivan explores human intervention in the landscape. Patterns found in agricultural landscapes, shifting geologic boundaries, and migrating oceanic phenomena intermingle in her work.
Through her abstract umbel flower installations, Jenni Ward’s work speaks about the disconnection that we have with nature, the unsustainability of monoculture farming, as well as the global issue of food insecurity.
Aspects of attraction and repulsion influence much of the work of Susan Whitmore, who regards light variations and magnifications, varied textures and colors, and the creatures that inhabit the depths, as inspirational and sometimes frightening. Whitmore explores how changing our actions will enable the planet to provide a hospitable existence for all species.
The ornate surfaces of Wesley Wright’s contemplative and noble animals respond to mass extinctions and recent losses of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, yet they also portray species interconnectedness and the hope for continued survival. Some of Wright’s sculptures hold an environment within a glass dome on its body, creating an alternate world of protection and safety.
Each of the artists included in This Is The Anthropocene has a keen interest in understanding and interpreting the inner workings and the wonder they find in their everyday life as a part of the natural world. Driven by personal experience, they have created works for contemplation and discussion, empowering the viewer to consider and even question their own relationship with nature and our changing planet.
Cynthia Siegel & Jenni Ward