I am a figurative painter based in New England. I use the narrative potential of body language, scientific data and allusions to mythology to confront the existential trauma of climate and ecological crises.
I was born in the mid-20th century during “The Great Acceleration”, a period of exponential growth in fossil-fuel emissions, chemical pollutants and other global trends that are directly linked to extreme climate events and environmental crises. For much of my life, I was blissfully unaware of these trends. When Superstorm Sandy pummeled our home in New York and devastating wildfires threatened family in California, I began to pay serious attention.
Research and Despair
I started reading obsessively about ecology and climate, from scientific reports in barely decipherable jargon to investigative journalism in alarmingly clear language. I became hyper-aware of news about apocalyptic monsoons and devastating drought, ocean acidification and disappearing glaciers, deforestation and mass species extinctions.
A growing sense of despair lead me to research ecological anxiety.
My artwork shifted in reaction.
Collective Trauma, Science and Information Overload
My Viral Load series, created during the Covid-19 pandemic, solidified my current approach to addressing collective trauma:
I combine research about the causality of trauma, in the form of data, text and diagrams, with archetypal figures that embody the complex emotional distress of our rapidly changing world. This work explores the physical trauma of environmental disasters, the emotional trauma of eco-anxieties and the cognitive trauma of overwhelming information.
My layers of partially legible, hand-written fragments from scientific and archival research highlight the inaccessibility of technical writing and visualize the experience of information overload. By writing out this terrifying data by hand, I acknowledge that I am aware. I am witnessing. I am grieving.
Anthropocene Apocalypse: Ancient Myth, Modern Narrative
Apocalyptic tales of world-ending devastation, caused by supernatural beings, are found in cultural traditions throughout history. 21st century ecological and climate disasters, however, are triggered by the cumulative actions of industrialized humanity. I repurpose ancient mythologies from the cultural heritage of Western civilization as narrative frameworks for Anthropocene events of epic scale.
Embedding figures traditionally associated with spiritual beliefs about Nature within layers of scientific data examines how historical ideas, contemporary knowledge and emotional response inform humanity’s relationships to the radical transformation of Earth’s biospheres.
The American Psychological Association describes eco-anxiety as “fear of environmental cataclysm from observing the seemingly irrevocable impact of climate change.”
Acknowledgement of eco-anxieties can ultimately lead to positive action, adaptation and resilience. Sharing professional resources for climate-related mental health is part of my practice.
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