Define Earth: Losing Ground, Gaining Perspective

Lorrie Fredette, Laura Moriarty, Paula Roland, Natalie Abrams

Around the globe, communities reel and regroup from the very long-term impact of Hurricane Sandy, increasingly severe wildfires in the west and radiation leakage from Japan’s damaged nuclear reactors. While the majority of the population now believe in climate change, will they accept the environmental impact of the choices they make on a daily basis? This planet is the foundation of our lives in the very ground we walk on, live on, breathe in. Each step we take has a systemic effect on an ecosystem. This exhibition brings together four very different artists who are exploring our planet and these systemic impacts: from the base strata of our planet’s geological foundation, to airborne pathogens and greenhouse gases, to society’s impact on diverse ecosystems. When considered together, this body of work makes a compelling case for the role of beauty and research in helping us to face reality and enact change.

Lorrie Fredette draws inspiration from environmental and medical headlines as well as historical events. Gathering extensive research and images, Lorrie then goes through an elaborate process to completely subvert and distort any likeness to the original source. The medium is not incidental, “The use of wax in its natural color as my primary medium is intentional — the neutral palette emphasizes shape, the aroma can be intoxicating and the texture is one that invites touch — all in support of my goal to lure viewers into an experience that they would certainly try to avoid had they encountered the original infection.”

Laura Moriarty’s sculptural pieces comprise “a series of empirical demonstrations that contemplate and compare human and geologic time…. I study the way events and phenomena occur in the geological timescale and make micro/macro records in paint of what I imagine happens below a terrain’s surface.” Laura’s work reveals an interesting relationship between the embedding and pouring nature of the medium and that within the natural processes of our environment. The work can also lend a greater visual understanding of the impact of industrial processes such as mining and fracking.

Paula Roland examines “the natural world as it intersects with human activity, revealing patterns of connection and a changing landscape.” Disappear is inspired by her memories of flying over the Louisiana wetlands’ lace-like structure of water, marshes, and sunlight glinting on water. Initially this body of work reminded her of the erosive destruction of Katrina. With BP’s negligent oil disaster in the Gulf and newly exposed damage, this work has become increasingly prescient. The fragility of the cut paper speaks to the fragility of all of nature and the need to care for it.

Curator Natalie Abrams is interested in the parallels existing between relationships present in various ecosystems and those within the human race, as well as the impact of climate change on these cultures. “I find beautiful and compelling relationships in the symmetry of life amongst coral reefs and that of the urban landscape…. The degradation of these reefs are not only a reflection of our carelessness, but a sign of what is to come for ourselves as we age and suffer disease and for our environment as a whole.”

While, as artists, we make conscious decisions about the materials we use, the work must stand on its own regardless of how it was made. All four artists work with the same medium, and the materials and techniques used are integral to the work, but the message itself takes precedence.