Shifting Ecologies Catalogue
One of the natural conditions of life is the alteration — sometimes subtle, often
overt — of our environment. Industrial and technological expansion are
triggering drastic environmental changes that often resulting in mutations,
diseases and pollutants. These ecological transformations impact everything,
from the lives of bacteria to the biological processes spanning the entire globe.
The overall destruction of our earth from global warming, ozone depletion, acid
rain, genetic engineering and toxic waste threatens our survival and way of life.
The earth struggles to adapt to the imposed conditions and faces a succession
of challenges without any certainty that it may sustain itself.
The word “ecology” was coined by Ernst Haeckel in1878 and originates from the
Greek word oikos meaning house or household. Haeckel, a naturalist, biologist,
philosopher, physician, professor and artist, expanded the meaning to include
habitats. From habitats the word has come to mean the study of the
environment: addressing scientifically the interrelationships of living creatures,
and their conditions including the biological and physical sciences.
The painters included in this exhibition, embrace a culture of ecology and a
sense of responsibility for defending the environment. William McDonough, a
leader in promoting sustainability has said, “If everything that is received from
the earth can be freely given back, without causing harm to any living system:
this is ecology.” Eco artists may address the subject with on-site rigor and
activism; painters address it with detached formalism and the language of
painting and sculpture. This show presents the way artists are reacting to the
current ecology of our planet and our ecological crisis and challenge.
Marianne van Lent, Curator, Shifting Ecologies II
Athens Cultural Arts Center
August 8 - September 6, 2015
Artists Shifting Ecologies II:
“Outdated maps and musty, faded fragments left in the 20th century's wake, are
pieced together here in "Off the Grid." They call to mind a time when the world
was more than a maelstrom of zeroes and ones on a screen, when virtual
connections were uncharted, and when simplicity prevailed.”
“Off the Grid”
15” x 19”
“The Red River wall sculpture began with a 21 inch red central rectangular panel split open across its
entirety. The work felt complete as I hung it on the wall and studied it for awhile and then I began to
think that it needed a little “halo like” red vine above it. But once added, the vine began to feel
imbalanced so I added a carved square imprint of a “Bird of Paradise” both dark and light red with dark
red wax poured onto the wood flower shape. The wall sculpture is now in three parts, and is about
beauty and loss in relationship to our life and our natural landscape.”
“Plant Spirit Series, is based on the exploration of the individual qualities of the plants and how the
interact with life around them. Basil has an empathy for those whom have been wronged or
mistreated by there parental or guardian forces. Basil helps in the sting of a wasp, is said to attract
scorpions and grows in large amounts where there is adversary. In Basil Addresses Greed, I
thought of these things in relation to governments and power holders not having those under their
care in their best interest. The red and gold represent alchemy and the desire to possess riches, not
in line with nature.”
“Basil Addresses Greed” 30”x30” Framed, Synthetic polymers, Pigments on Rag Paper, 2011
“These works are an investigation into structural systems in which I am studying the visual and
metaphorical relationships between natural organisms and material culture. The blocks themselves
represent the possibility to organize and reorganize these images that once collected, sorted, and
classified, reveal their poetic substance.”
“The Root and its Functions” 2014 Mixed media collage 5” x 8” POR
“The Peripheral Autonomic System Box” 2013 Collaged wood blocks in
wooden box 2” D x 6.5 W x 10L” POR
“My response to the changing relationship between us and our environment is this excerpt from
my children's book "Notes on Being Born"
Cities are exciting but woods are most inviting
Trees changing everyday, spots of sunlight guide the way
When I’m confused not feeling smart
Winds whisper secrets to my heart
I’d rather walk a path than take a street and hear twigs snap beneath my feet”
“Natural Habitat #2”
“The elephant examines unknown obstacles on the way to the barn. Is a
(incarcerated) life his only hope for asylum? Has he transformed into an idea
elephant? Will the plush toys that comfort us at night be all that remain?
Oil on Canvas 20” x 34”
“Nature exists in a perpetual state of transformation. This has been exacerbated, altered, and
redefined by man’s relentless effort to control the environment.
My work often mirrors this sensibility in terms of the ambiguous symbols and pictograms that I use to
explore this contrived bio-evolution. The hybrid forms may be beneficial or detrimental to the balance
of nature, the future is left uncertain.”
June 22, 2015
“Green Tango” 26”x22”, oil, oil stick, canvas 2009
Peggy Cyphers finds inspiration in the natural world and Darwin’s evolutionary theory of the
interconnectedness of all beings. Her channeling of animals, plants and all species, leads to
conversations on the “Politics of Progress” as it impacts cultural evolution and the natural world.
“Animal Spirits - Icon”
acrylic, gold, copper and silkscreen on canvas, 30 x 24"
"Let's make an oath, hello river"
A group manifestation with Yesiree the Public Notary, the river and you, at 7.PM, August 15th.
“My carefully rendered landscapes of the decimated Fukushima landscape,
embraces what is left: the grass, the rubbish, and the people in
protective tyvek suits. This work is about the juxtaposition of our
passion for the “here and now” of life in the face of the inevitability of
our own demise.”
“Fukushima Landscape” 22"x31", oil on linen
“Landscape representation is often couched in the tongue of the erotic. Curiously and paradoxically
the word is usually excluded from this Elysian Field, one in which Capital and patriarchy unite to
enclose as private property, no trespassing.”
“Pornotopia”, 11" x 15"
“The series titled WAT-DIS comprises oil paintings depicting world-wide water disasters from my
imagination painted on top of old (sometimes ten years old) encaustic paintings based on other types of
disaster, usually involving a skirmish. The scars of the old are visible in the new work. My work of the
past was rooted in found imagery, whether from news photos, my own photos or movie stills. My more
recent work is arrived at more intuitively with imagery suggesting itself as I work in layers to see what’s
hidden and what I can uncover.”
WAT-DIS 2 10.75" x 14.25"; (12.25" x 15.75" with frame) 2012 encaustic/oil on wood panel
Courtesy John Davis Gallery
WAT-DIS 4 10.75" x 14.25"; (12.25" x 15.75" with frame) 2012 encaustic/oil on wood panel
Courtesy John Davis Gallery
“I grew up in the Hudson Valley and returned in 1990.
I started a garden which became an ever-changing installation of stone, wood,trees, plants and my work.
The piece in this show includes a log from a fallen ash tree which may have dies as a result of the emerald
"OWL LOG" - 15"x 9"x 10" mixed media on log
“An image or form tuned over time. Pulled from the past, added to in the present and pushed in to the
future. Rolling stones that do gather moss. Buoys hanging in the ebb of time. “
“Sex Pistol” 2014 ( from the series Gang of 4 ) Size: 78” x 10” x 9”
Materials: Cherry wood and stain
“After 9/11 my paintings and prints evolved from hommages to the natural world to protests about
the danger of environmental disaster. The work portrays the poetic yet grim reality of the changes in
the Ashokan Reservoir and Catskill region while retaining my use of expressionistic abstraction. Titles
like The End of Snow, Good Night Irene, Every Breaking Wave, With or Without You, and Disturbed
Landscapes refer to these concerns.”
“End of Snow”
Oil on Canvas
“I started sculpting at college while studying alternative energy. We investigated wind generation while I built
wind sculpture. I often circle back, adding new works to this series. Art works that move in the wind are visually
interesting and subtly remind viewers of this invisible force that we can and should harness.”
"Windflower II" 27" x 16" x 7" Painted steel, cardboard and glue. 2014 H=28" x W=16" x D= 16" (note: kinetic:
revolves in wind)
"Molino" H21" x W16.5" (Image) Watercolor/ Drawing. 2011 Framed (outer frame dimensions: H31.5" x W26.5")
“I created WOODS in 1999. I felt compelled to merge visceral impulses with the inorganic and thus
pushed pigments onto supports through plastic screens. Perhaps this conveyed a shifting relationship
between nature and the manmade, ie the latter’s shift away from the manufactured and die cut and
toward the virtual.”
“WOODS”, acrylic and wax on canvas, 20 x 20 inches 1999
Courtesy Galerie Gris, Hudson, New York
“Particulate Matter is a triptych of “Yellow Rain” pollen as imaged by the scanning electron microscope. Yellow rain was believed to be T-2
mycotoxin which the US accused the Soviet Union of supplying to Vietnam and Laos for use in counterinsurgency warfare.”
“Particulate Matter”, Photo silkscreen, flasche & acrylic on wood panels, 40”x36”
Linda B Horn
“Shifting bodies as evolutionary process.”
31"h x19 w x 10"d
Cast plaster forms
“This series is a tribute to vanishing species and biodiversity that supports the health and well being of
planet. The work emerges from clear layers of acrylic polymers and gels and provides a variety of textures
mirroring the fluid qualities of emergence and disappearance in a wild and natural world.”
“White Headed Vulture”
10 x 10 inches, ink,acrylic on masonitte
“Caquetá Titi Monkey”
10 x 10 inches, ink,acrylic on masonite
“Since 1990 I have had a studio on the bank of the Hudson River in Greene County, NY. I use the river’s
surface and it’s translucence as a giant watery lens that assimilates reflections, colors and patterns. Just like
a lens, this watery plane synthesizes activity from the world above: the movements of clouds, fog, foliage,
birds, planes in flight, oil tankers and other manmade disturbances.”
“Pageant”, 24.5 x 21.5 inches, oil on panel, 2014
Notations on a River, single channel video, oil on pane, 2014
“The rainbow colors in an oil slick are sublime; fine particles of pollution: chemicals, industrial dust,
metals et al, make romantic tangerine dawns; sulfuric acid aerosols in the air create the reddest most
dramatic sunsets. We are recoloring our world.
Hell from a distance likely looks lovely too.”
“Hell from a Distance”, 2010
Mixed Media on Canvas, 48 x 48
The ultimate goal in my work has been the expression of my truth, which includes beauty and ugliness. The
mists and rain of the Pacific Northwest, embedded in my childhood deeply inform my work, and I return
every year to the rainforest for inspiration, and to bear witness. In evoking the emotional power of a
resplendent and luminous nature I seek to rouse in the viewer a kind of rapture and respect for the power of
the natural world.
18"x24" oil on canvas
“Currently I’m exploring one of natures more troubling creations – invasive
species such as Japanese Knotweed. I’ve been making modified castings of
its over-wintering canes and branches. I like the idea of bringing what may
be unwanted outside – and letting my “fakes” invade a different kind of
Without title, 2015
Knotweed cane cast in wax, screws
1.5" x 1.5" x 34"
“These pieces are from a body of work that I began when I moved to live near the Marcellus
Shale and found myself in the midst of extreme controversy over hydraulic fracturing and
impending pipelines. Thinking about the shale as a living and changing layer of the earth under
my feet inspired these drawings. I wanted to convey the shale as a subject rather than an object
to be exploited. It is a living home to many things, as ancient as the ocean and just as rich in
"The Celestial Deep"
20" x 14" watercolor and graphite
20" x 14" watercolor. clay, graphite
“Everything is constantly changing: ourselves, the universe that surrounds us, the things we create. In
“Mimesis,” the lid of an old Japanese metal box echoes the pattern of lichen on the bark. The verdigris forming
on the box brings the piece back to the natural world that inspired it.”
Size: Approx. 8" x 12½"
Medium: Mixed media: bark with lichen, lid of old Japanese metal box, skeletal leaves, and metallic paint on
“Alternative methods of mapping the natural environment are the focus of my recent work. While researching traditional boat building
techniques from totora reed on Lake Titicaca Peru in 2012, I produced a series of monotype prints from vegetation including quinoa that grows
around the lake of which these are examples.
“Haba and Waiq’p & W’aiq’a"
Monotype print on arches paper
Paper: 13 1/2”x20” Frame: 19 1/4”x 25 1/4”
“Quinoa & Totora”
Monotype print on arches paper
Paper: 13 1/2” x 20” Frame: 19 1/4” x 25 1/4”
“The paintings are a cautionary tale of our future, where our natural ecology has been interrupted,
transformed or mutated. I work directly and indirectly from images of natural and man-made disasters I
find throughout the media. My work ranges from suggestive events to more abstracted and otherworldly
“Southern Breeze of Yellow and Blue”
48 x 36 inches, oil on canvas, 2013
“Arising from a tradition of landscape painting and having been raised by naturalists my work is a celebration
of the primacy and beauty of nature---nature abstracted; the beauty of birds, mist, the phases of the moon,
etc., etc. The “Do you work from nature?” “I am nature.” discussion, in my non-objective art, seem reconciled
and the implications of this to ecology are direct and obvious.” July 2015
"PIONEER TOWN” Oil on Canvas,
38" X 30”.2011.
“These works are an exploration into the abstract mind-scape of the artist, referencing natures' whimsical
beauty, and ephemeral existence. Their high gloss finish, and candy-like colors speak to an artificial reality,
creating a surreal atmosphere. Whereas, delicate brushwork tends to suggest a sentimental attachment, and
idealism to this imagined space.”
“An Overcast Day In The Garden”, 2010 10” x 10” Oil on canvas
“These Rocks Are Soft”, 2010 10” x 10” Oil on canvas
“My collection of natural elements come from pieces I have encountered or have been given to me. The shapes of
the bark usually inform me how to integrate them into the environment I want to create. Many birch bark pieces
have already formed a surface that is both artistic and rich in texture. Some pieces of bark already suggest
vessels, which hold other objects such as feathers.”
"The Feather That Got Away"
w-16 1/2" h- 23 3/4" d- 8"
“This painting was made outdoors, during 3 storms, in 2 years. It's a metaphorical depiction of the
dark destruction of our natural world. Our environment has now "shifted" - it's a commodity for
capital gain and development. Plants and animals are becoming extinct at the most rapid rate in
history while wars over natural resources rage endlessly.”
"A Peony In A Storm" 53"h x 65"w
Acrylic, enamel, spray paint, rain, wind, grass, bugs
“This tile is one of a series of clay pieces in which I show how surface and structure are transformed by
physical processes. After manipulating the clay using textures, grids and applied mineral oxides, the
clay’s chemistry is altered during the firing process. The result is visually analogous to an aerial view of
earth, with its dynamic and mutable geologic and man-made forms.”
A proposal to repurpose abandoned Cold War missile silos by using them for mushroom cultivation.
Instead of an intercontinental missile, the giant interior lift will carry an equal size tower of mushroom flats,
where for continuous production mushrooms are grown at different stages on different levels.
Mushrooms ready for picking are lifted outside the silo environment and harvested under moonlight.
Graphite and colored pencil on mylar, 24”x36”
Marjorie Van Dyke
Percy Shelley "Ozymandias"
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Impermanence is a very frightening idea to me. The deepest part of me dreads evolution. And
yet, as an artist, evolution is what we do. The world changing is the thing we are. It is so
Oil on canvas, 22" x 30”
Marianne Van Lent
“Cosmology is a branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of the universe, a study of its
origins and the eventual fate of the cosmos. My paintings are an investigation and a reaction to our
fragile position in the universe. Filtered through memory, the work examines the intersections of
body and earth ecology.”
"Vaporous" 36"x 36"
Fresco secco and dispersed pigment in
polymer on canvas
“My fondest childhood memories include summers spent on the Adriatic coast, where I would swim far
away from the beach and into a sea world of my own. Out there alone, I felt a great calmness and
freedom that I hope we can preserve for future generations.”
Mixed-Media (acrylics, metal shim, Lutradur, textiles, fusible webbing, threads)
“Hanging by Strings is a contemplation on the fragility of life and shifting eco-systems. Pine boughs
are wrapped in mindful meditation. Each wrap is counted in increments of 18, symbolic of life in the
ancient mystical practice of Gematria. The bundled boughs though not broken, hang precariously.”
“Hanging by Strings” (detail), 2014, pine boughs and string, dimensions variable.