CLIMATE CONVERSATIONS: ALL WE CAN SAVE
Opening Reception: Friday, April 8th (6-9pm) and running through June 30th
Written by participating artist Susan Hoffman Fishman –
“When eight women artists from the Midwest and the East Coast of the United States came together via Zoom during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to read and discuss a newly published book on climate change, none of them predicted what would evolve from their conversations.
The book, All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D. and Katharine K. Wilkinson, Ph.D., contains essays and poetry by a cadre of diverse women policy wonks, scientists, writers, journalists, lawyers, activists and others who address the most critical existential issue of our time with the intention of offering different ways to effect change and mend the significant damage that we have caused to the Earth.
Mostly strangers to each other, the eight artists coalesced into a cohesive unit as they met regularly throughout 2020 – 2021 and digested the essays, section by section. Although the artists were inspired by different essays, there are a number of common themes that are expressed in many of their individual works. These include: the power of storytelling as a vehicle for providing alternate ways of looking at the non-human world and the climate crisis; the importance of community and place as a starting point for change; the interconnectedness of all living beings; the need to regard non-human beings as equal partners on Earth in order to restore what we have harmed; and the complex political, economic and social nature of the climate crisis. Each of the artist’s responses to All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis form the exhibition Climate Conversations: All We Can Save.”
This exhibit is supported in part by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
MEET THE ARTISTS:
Jersey City based Nancy Cohen’s work examines resiliency in relation to the environment and the human body. Her upcoming solo exhibition“Walking a Line” at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in New York City runs from 2/17-3/26 and “Nancy Cohen: Atlas of Impermance” was in Summer 2021 at the Visual Arts Center of NJ. Her work in handmade paper was recently featured in NJ PBS State of the Arts: https://www.stateoftheartsnj.com/…/nancy-cohens-atlas…/.
I chose to respond to two essays that deal with the waterways around New York City close to where I live and work.”
“I typically do not use the human figure in my artwork, so I surprised myself when I noticed that all the works I made for this exhibit are metaphors for humans. Migrants and No Place to Land are about climate refugees, discussed in Like The Monarch by Sarah Stillman.”
As an artist, she works in a variety of analog and digital media, including 3D works in wood, metal, ceramic, paper, and large scale installations, as well as 2 dimensionally in oil, watercolor and printmaking.
“As I was reading the All We Can Save anthology, I was particularly struck by the honesty, sensitivity, and specificity of the feminist perspective on the dire issues of climate change. It is with that intensely personal lens in mind that I approached my work for this show.”
SUSAN HOFFMAN FISHMAN
Susan Hoffman Fishman is a Connecticut-based painter, eco-artist and arts writer whose work has been exhibited widely in museums and galleries throughout the U.S. Since 2011, all of her paintings and installations have addressed water in the context of the climate crisis. Her most recent work, In the Beginning There Was Only Water, is a visual reframing of the biblical creation myth. In 39 panels, it speaks to the importance and beauty of all living beings and what we stand to lose as a result of climate change. She recently participated in an artist’s residency at Planet, an international company providing global satellite images, where she focused on the proliferation of sinkholes around the Dead Sea and in Siberia caused by climate change and extraction. With her monthly column, “Imagining Water,” Fishman is a regular contributor to the international blog, Artists and Climate Change, which documents the work of visual artists, playwrights, novelists, poets, dancers, public artists, musicians and performers, etc. around the world who are focusing on the critical topic of climate change.
“With this series of work, I was exploring the nature of our response to the climate crisis, and what tools we have as a culture to respond to a crisis that threatens the foundation of all meaning for humans. When we are threatened as individuals or as groups, we have different ways of coping, including looking to spiritual traditions, to cultural practices, to music and art. I started thinking about my own upbringing in a religious tradition, and the symbols that have been passed through generations. I’m interested in the fact that we don’t yet have a set of cultural or spiritual symbols, rituals and traditions to help us understand and cope with the enormous transformation caused by climate change. So this work was in reaction to that observation, and to repurposing symbols for this new global crisis we face.”
GINA RAFAELLA FURNARI
Gina Rafaella Furnari is a painter, and process artist focused on investigations of place, community, and belonging. Her work consists of independent and collaborative projects including “A Place for Us” (2020)—which collects visual and audio references from areas where land and water meet along New Jersey’s waterways, and explores the idea of habit as habitat. She has exhibited in the United States, Iceland, and Ireland.
Ann Arbor based multi-media artist Leslie Sobel’swork addresses water and climate change, including the pollution, flooding and environmental damage to our continental watersheds and the increase in harmful algae blooms in Lake Erie and other bodies of water – the overgrowth of microscopic algae or algae-like bacteria in fresh, salt, or brackish waters. As the daughter of two scientists, Sobel is finely attuned to scientific systems and often collaborates with scientists in the field. By combining components of both science and art in her work, she provides multiple perspectives on her subject matter.Sobel has an MFA from the University of Hartford and BFA from the University of Michigan and has done most of a master’s degree in interdisciplinary technology at Eastern Michigan University. A former tech entrepreneur, she uses digital tools as well as painting and printmaking in her work. She is currently finishing a residency with the remote sensing company Planet Labs and is preparing for an artist-in-residence in the Arctic Circle aboard a tall ship.