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Version: 2.0
(October 6, 2006)

Eco-art: An examination of the earth-bound life

Ecological art, or eco-art, addresses the inherent beauty of nature, its aesthetic, the relationship between humans and nature, and the impact of industrial "progress" on the environment. Through multiple and often interwoven disciplines, eco-artists examine the interrelationships that define nature and humans within nature. In her essay "Ecopolitics/Ecopoetry," Eleanor Heartney writes "[Eco-artists] argue that the artist's habits of metaphor, cross-reference, inclusiveness, and holistic thinking may help unclog a discourse that often finds itself mired in the narrow channels of technological and bureaucratic thinking. They hold that new conceptualizations of intractable environmental problems may lead to new solutions. And they have committed themselves to exposing to public view the debate that surrounds these issues in the belief that common sense and a proper understanding of our collective self-interest are the most potent weapons in the battle for ecological sanity (Felshin 141)."

At its roots, art is imbued with an awareness of the natural world. In the 1890s and again in the 1960s, this focus was renewed when the art world responded to environmental movements. Its popularity lost amidst the materialism of the1980s, much of eco-art has since remained at the fringes of art world. In part, the marginalization of nature as subject matter is due to nature post-industrial unfashionableness; primarily, however, eco-art remains on the edge because it often proves impossible to classify by blurring the lines between art, activism, and science.

Eco-artists in the Berkshire region:

Walton Ford

Jamie Goldenberg

Perry Hall

Jason Houston

Other eco-artists:

Ulrike Arnold

Brandon Ballengee

Agnes Denes

Reiko Goto

Isabelle Hayeur

Birgit Kratzheller

David Maisel

Fern Shaffer and Othello Anderson

Richard Solomon

Nico Van Hoorn

Heartney, Eleanor "Ecopolitics/Ecopoetry: Helen and Newton Harrison's Environmental Talking Cure" But Is It Art? The Spirit of Art as Activism p. 141. Ed. Felshin, Nina. 1995 Bay Press: Seattle.