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Women and the Environment

April 5 - May 3, 2006

Michele Brody
Jackie Brookner
Agnes Denes
Silvianna Goldsmith
Janice Gordon
Shelley Haven
Donna Marxer

The seven women in this exhibition come to us with a story of our relationship to our earth. They have in common a connection to WEAD, the Women Environmental Artists Directory, a publication developed on the West Coast by Jo Hanson and Susan Leibovitz Steinman. Over one hundred women from all over the world are listed in this directory that has become a clearing ground for people concerned with the future of our world.

Last summer I saw an exhibition of West Coast WEAD artists entitled “Ecovisions” at the Thoreau Center for Sustainability in the Presidio in San Francisco; that exhibition was the inspiration for this one. To narrow down the impressively large field of East Coast WEAD artists, I chose only those with an address in Manhattan. Perhaps these two shows are only the beginning of many world-wide WEAD exhibitions.

The stories these women tell through art are some of the deepest human stories, each told differently. The artists all work with earthly materials—stone, paint, seeds, plants, metal, concrete, even dirt—to shape ideas of reverence, revelation, beauty, joy, and sometimes pain. Some work individually, in private studios, engaging in a direct and intimate dialogue with materials and meaning. Others collaborate with groups of engineers, scientists, city planners and politicians on projects that show us how to work with nature instead of against it.

Eco-art has the capacity to reveal the earth as our source of sustenance and joy. It can also help us understand and temper the ever-more overwhelming and destructive human presence on this magnificent blue and green whirling ball that is our home. We are all creative beings, and perhaps our greatest challenge is still before us: to honor this Earth and work in concert with it. If we do so, we can literally make a better world.

Much of our past comes to us not through the word, but through the image. And it may be that our future will come to us the same way: via art.

Jeanne Wilkinson

Exhibition Checklist

Michele Brody
Sheepherder's Lace
copper pipes, polyester lace, grass seeds, water, tank, pump)
1994 - 2005

Jackie Brookner
The Gift of Water
bio-sculpture, Grossenhain, Germany, 2001

composted topsoil on paper, 1997

River Röder Floodplain Park
Poster for project proposal, Grossenhain, Germany, 2003

Mother Tongue
soil with non-toxic paste binder and wood, 1993

Agnes Denes
Tree Mountain: A Living Time Capsule
11,000 Trees - 11,000 People - 400 Years
Finland, 1996

Wheatfield: A Confrontation
two-acre wheat field planted and harvested in lower Manhattan, 1982

Silvianna Goldsmith
Diptych: Garden Gemini
Digital print on canvas from altered photograph, 1999

Canova Nymph
Novajet print on canvas, 1999

Chrysanthemum Dress (Back)
Novajet print on D'Arches watercolor paper from computer-scanned image from slide, 1999

Homage to Rousseau
Digital print on D'Arches watercolor paper, 1999

Female Genie
Novajet print on D'Arches watercolor paper, 1999

Homage to Diego Rivera
Novajet print on watercolor paper, 1995

Janice Gordon
This is the Story
mixed media, 1997

Fata Morgana
mixed media, 1997

Shelley Haven
Punta Morena Series
12 Viscosity-printed etchings, 2003-2004

Punta Morena I, Variations 2, 14, 7

Punta Morena II, Variations 2, 14, 7

Punta Morena III, Variations 2, 14, 7

Punta Morena IV, Variations 2, 14, 7

Donna Marxer
Alligator Hole
oil on paper, 2005

My Everglades is Bleeding I
oil on canvas, 2005

DRY/wet: Palm Island
oil on paper, 2005

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