Visual

Interpreting Climate Change

Art with an environmental ethos

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The destruction of nature is kind of a beautiful thing.

Let me rephrase that: In the hands of the 150 painters, sculptors, photographers, printmakers and other creative types who submitted their work to the “Nature in the Balance: Artists Interpreting Climate Change” exhibit currently on display at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building, the task of bringing light to the world’s environmental ills resulted in art that is both eye-catching and, in some cases, inherently lovely (yes, the vision of a melting polar ice cap can be beautiful).

For the hanging—which was open to any artist who was a member of the Whatcom Museum, including many from outside the parameters of Whatcom County—participants were asked to respond to the following four questions: What is happening to the Earth? Why is it happening? What are your visions of the future? How can people make a difference?

The exhibit is also a precursor to the upcoming “Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, 1775-2012,” which opens this fall. A statement outside the display by curator Barbara Matilsky points out the initial hanging “highlights the museum’s commitment to cultivating relationships with the community of artists in and around Bellingham” as well as stimulating discussions “about the future of our planet.”

A handful of the 150 artists will be on hand at public tours July 25 and Aug. 1 to share how their work addresses climate change, but it’s worth an additional walk-through of the exhibit—either before or after the tours—to get a sense of how all-encompassing the display truly is, and to give yourself a few minutes, or hours, to absorb it all.

When you read the accompanying statements each artist wrote about their work, you’ll see the exhibit wasn’t at all about making cool images for public display. Judging by the comments, the artists put a lot of thought into how climate change is affecting not just them, but also the big blue globe we all call home.

“’Spiraling toward Extinction’ represents the loss of biodiversity resulting from climate change,” Bellingham’s Stephanie Harmon wrote about her mixed-media piece, which depicts some of earth’s smallest life forms “as they fade into the realm of the forgotten and disappear forever.”

Paintings and photos of melting glaciers are a common theme in “Nature in the Balance,” and pieces such as Ron Pattern’s “Lower Curtis, 2011”—which depicts the Lower Curtis Glacier on the south slope of Mt. Shuksan—reminds viewers that climate change is happening everywhere—even close to home.

As well, viewers can expect to see a few apocalyptic scenarios, such as Sumas photographer Nicole Sandoval Postmas’ “Mother Earth,” 2013, which features a woman standing on a beach in a gas mask with her arm around a young boy. In the background, billows of ominous black smoke intercede in the image.

“My photograph represents the apocalyptic future our world faces if we do not commit to repairing the damage humanity has inflicted on our planet by increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere,” Postma writes. “I hope to inspire change through a glimpse into a future where the human race has lost its battle with the effects of global warming, and aftermath of more deadly natural disasters.” 

Even if you’re not drawn to every piece in “Nature in the Balance,” I can guarantee you’ll find at least a few images that resonate. They’ll also make you think.

SVCR Americas Greatest Gameshow
More Visual...
Sew Excited
A time for textiles

Ever since I attempted to make a flannel nightgown as part of a home economics class in junior high school, I’ve been in awe of people who can sew.

While my finished frock looked like something someone in a mental institution might wear instead of a straitjacket—one arm was…

more »
Evidence
A magical resonation

In “Evidence,” the current show at Smith & Vallee Gallery, two exceptional artists give us their views—David Blakesley, of a world that might have been or what it might become, and Kathleen Faulkner, images of the forest, examined close-up and transformed by the creator’s eye.…

more »
Native Son
The life and art of James T. Pickett

Pencils and paper were scarce commodities on the remote Mason County homestead where James Tilton Pickett grew up, but that didn’t stop him from drawing.

Instead of filling sketchbooks and stretched canvasses, he committed his lines to a variety of repurposed barnyard materials. Charcoal…

more »
Events
Today
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Lynden Farmers Market

12:00pm|Front Street

Together for Peace

6:00pm|Majestic

Stream Tour

6:00pm|Whatcom Creek

Day of Peace observes those displaced by war

6:00pm

Trash Talk

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Travel Talk

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Balkan Folk Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Chuckanut Radio Hour with Nancy Pearl

7:00pm|Village Books

Authentic Illusionist Jay Ownehouse

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Trove
Tomorrow
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Whatcom Falls Park

Ferndale Farmers Market

3:00pm|Centennial Riverwalk Park

Foof Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Farm Tunes

6:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Oktoberfest Cruises

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

The Last Outrageous Women

7:00pm|Village Books

7-Day Dance Festival Finale

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Forever Plaid

7:30pm|Conway Muse

The Mousetrap

7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

Friday Night Flicks

7:30pm|Van Zandt Community Hall

Figmentally, Circus for All

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

Welcome Back Students Shows

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

MBT Janis Joplin BOB_2017
Saturday
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Oktoberfest Cruises

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Forever Plaid

7:30pm|Conway Muse

The Mousetrap

7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

Welcome Back Students Shows

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Figmentally, Circus for All

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

South Whatcom Birding Walks

8:00am|South Whatcom Library

Harvest Happens

8:00am|Bellewood Acres

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Hall

Southside Rummage Sale

8:30am| Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Make It and Take it

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|North Fork Library, Nugents Corner

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Little Mountain Trail 10K

10:00am|Carpenter Creek Winery

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Salmon Sighting

10:00am|Thompson Creek Bridge

Pesto Perfecto

11:00am|Ferndale Library

Council of the Animals

11:00am|Boulevard Park

Trial Vineyard Open House

12:00pm|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Sedro-Woolley Brewfest

2:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

The Art of Living

3:00pm|Deming Library

River Walk

3:00pm| Horseshoe Bend Trailhead.

Nooksack River Walk

3:00pm|Horseshoe Bend Trailhead

Kulshan CLT Community Party

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Democrats Dinner

5:30pm| Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa

BowEdison Anniversary Party

5:30pm|BowEdison

Fall Demo Derby

6:30pm|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Moment

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Salsa Night

9:30pm|Cafe Rumba

see our complete calendar »

2020 Solutions Sept 2017 BOB_2017 MBT Janis Joplin Bellingham Farmer’s Market Village Books Trove Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1