We are living in a time when society is becoming more socially responsible and active. Creative and corporate fields are leading the way in conversations around sustainability, the environment, and efforts in social consciousness.
There are many artists who choose environmental consciousness or nature as their main subject matter in their artistic journeys. Let's explore how their sentiments get creatively embodied in their art!
One thing that comes to mind when thinking about art and sustainability is the usage of recycled materials: with immense amounts of waste generated by consumers, some artists choose to utilise these waste materials in their works to make a social statement and bring light to the issue of wastage.
Previously in a Singapore-based festival, Olivia D'aboville exhibited her Coral Garden series, an installation of coral-like structures made of re-used cocktail stirrers to raise awareness about reformation of damaged reefs.
She has also made equally spectacular works from plastic bottles, imparting a message about disposable items.
In the continent of Africa, Kenyans participate in efforts to upcycle washed up flip-flops found along the beaches and waterways in Kenya. Ocean Sole is a non-profit social enterprise, whose mission is to clean polluted beaches and provide income to their Artisans!
Shifting focus to our own artist catalogue, Arran Gregory creates sublime, geometrically abstract sculptures of animals, working with recycled PetG.
Sustaining appreciation: Photography
Not all sustainable art forms have to work with hands-on materials. By capturing the beauty of nature, artists can instil in their viewers a greater appreciation, thus consciousness towards the earth.
Photographer Loredana De Sole shares breath-taking sights in her journey to document nature. Loredana has become increasingly interested in nature due to the ecological crises of recent years and the evolution of her own inner need to denounce the damage done.
Juxtaposed side by side: a mellow autumn and the freezing cold. Her appreciation blossoms for both ends of the spectrum.
Tommy Kwak immortalises the beauty of a green-blue aurora in the deep night sky, while a foggy mirage captured by Shimon and Tammar Rothstein reminds the viewer of how intrinsically serene and mystical nature can be.
Sustaining appreciation: Painting
Marco Araldi's work depicts the Tower Bridge of London, intricately decorated with an azure blue-skied background and colourful floral foreground with critters flying joyfully. This peaceful coexistence between nature and urban hints at an appreciation and hope for the earth.
Introducing what is known as ephemeral art - art that only lasts for a short amount of time and cannot be embodied in any lasting object to be shown in a museum or gallery. It can take the form of a sculpture, performance art or a temporary design.
Many environmental artists use ephemeral art to portray their artistic sentiments. Literally down-to-earth and sustainable, they connect with nature as their medium.
(Work and photo by Zach Pine)
Known for his site-specific sculptures and land art, Andy Goldsworthy is a prominent environmental artist.
His works hint at a graceful equilibrium in nature.
In fact, rock balancing, also referred to as stone balancing or gravity art, is not exclusive to him, but a popular art form amongst many ephemeral artists, who carefully and patiently hone their skills in this art form.
Manu Topic, in a National Geographic short, showcases his splendid rock balancing practice.
Richard Shilling is yet another influential environmental artist who has dabbled in rock balancing and a variety naturistic mediums, including sand. In 2021, he created sand paintings of giant footprints and a dolphin as part of an anti-litter campaign.
To conclude, there are many forms - timeless and ephemeral - that artists use to share their love for this earth. Thank you for journeying through this post with us. Last but not least, let us enjoy Yeo Siak Goon's symbolic depiction of our very own 'garden city', Singapore, through meshed wires and overgrown shrubbery. Can you see the hidden creature?