Saturday, August 31, 2013

Rich Ecology

Lichen and Leaves, watercolor & pastel on paper
I have already written about Sweet Spot Ecology. Today, as promised, I am going to write about Rich Ecology, something I have already touched upon in my profile: There are layers and layers of life, seen and unseen; known and unknown; and in a previous posting: The Efficient Complexity of Nature, 11-12-12. The rich and mysterious complexity of the Earth is captivating. Using a layered  approach to making art lends itself to rendering such a scene. I've been thinking about this rich ecology for a while. David Haskell's book, The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature, revels in this richness and has intensified my sense of all that exists around us. The image portrayed in the painting shown here is from Haskell's woods in Sewanee, Tennessee. As I am writing this, it is the last day for OF the EARTH at MS Rezny Studio/Gallery, where Lichen and Leaves is on view. (Come on down and see the show, you have an hour and a half!)

     Thus, I was keenly interested when my art librarian friend, Meg, lent me a book entitled: From Corot to Monet: The Ecology of Impressionism. My first action was to take in the paintings--they are splendid, of course. I even found a new favorite artist, Jean Charles Cazin. But I was a little curious about how ecology and impressionism go together. It turns out, that my concept of considering the whole of a scene, from the seen and unseen to the known and unknown goes back to impressionism. One of the ways in which impressionism was radically new was in the way that it includes all that is in a scene; the traditional, the modern, industrial and agrarian life, technology and well-established custom. Impressionism came into being as the Industrial Revolution was fundamentally changing life for the western world. Here, Thomas Moore's thoughts on ecology ring true as well. He points out that ecology is not simply about nature, but also about human activity such as the Industrial Revolution, and cultural influences. It is interesting to think about how all of this comes together in the world we live in. It is indeed a complex and sometimes maddeningly chaotic, yet still fearfully wonderful world!

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