The Art of Transforming Polluted Water into Clean Water, Energy, and Sound

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Gilberto Esparza at work on Nomadic Plants

Mexican visual artist Gilberto Esparza works with technology, including electronics, robotics, and biotechnology, to develop innovative solutions to the detrimental impact that humans have had on the natural world, particularly on water. His overall goal is to rethink and redo the current relationship between human society and the environment by establishing collaborations between the two. 

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Seeing Water

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Gulf of Main: Phytoplankton Breathing III, detail. Oil and phosphorescent pigments on canvas, 48” x 16,” 2017.

Krisanne Baker defines herself as a multi-disciplinary eco-artist, water activist, citizen scientist, and educator. In all of these disciplines, she has devoted herself to researching and revealing the condition and beauty of our rivers, streams, and oceans, and to advocating for their protection. 

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On Water as Polluted Body, Place of Solace, and Life Force

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sTo Len, detail of FOAM (FutureOfAMaterial) installation. Gomitaku print, sumi ink on linen, 64” x 360,” 2020.

Since June of 2017, artists Jarrod CluckGina R. FurnarisTo LenLeslie Sobel and Rachel Wojnar have been on an intense physical, emotional, spiritual, and art-making journey, which culminated with their MFA Thesis Exhibition, Confluence, on view at the Joseloff Gallery of the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford (Connecticut) from September 10-19, 2020. They are the third cohort to complete the Nomad Interdisciplinary MFA program. Founded by director Carol Padberg in 2015, the program uses an innovative field-based model and offers a curriculum that includes art, ecology, the study of place, indigenous knowledge systems, and technologies. Encompassing two hands-on residencies per year, the Nomad MFA provides courses in El Salvador; New York City; New Mexico; Mexico; Oakland, California; Miami; and Minneapolis.

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The Ocean Inside

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Video still from The Ocean Inside projected on the Veil (2018-2019). Photo by Eveline Kolijn.

Dutch-Canadian printmaker Eveline Kolijn grew up in the Caribbean where she developed an enduring interest in natural history and the environment, as well as a love of the ocean. Having spent a great deal of her childhood scuba diving in the coral reefs, she originally thought of becoming a marine biologist before her life took her in another direction. 

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Imagining Icebergs

Arctic Magnetism, photograph of Russell Glacier, Greenland. Printed on backlit film. Drawing by removal with scratch nibs, steel wool with water-based crayons, 106” x 44,” 2019.

Multi-media artist and educator Itty Neuhaus has spent a great deal of time observing and interpreting environmental changes in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and in Iceland and Greenland. Since 2000, when she took her first trip to Iceland, her drawings, photographs, sculptures, and videos have addressed the degradation of glaciers and the nature of icebergs. 

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Woven and Waxed Water Stories

10° 20′ 32” N, 44” x 96” x 3”, detail. Salvaged fishing nets and lines collected from across the Pacific Ocean with deep-sea leader line, 2021 (in process) .

Hawai’i-based fiber artist Mary Babcock uses discarded fishing nets and lines as well as household wax paper to create tapestries and installations about sea level rise, “our proclivity towards destruction or entanglement,” and our perceptions of and relationship to water. The process of self-laminating wax paper for installations and of cleaning, sorting, and unravelling abandoned, tangled fishing nets and lines and then weaving them into something completely new, is the manifestation of her refusal to see anything as unworkable or unrepairable, including the climate crisis. 

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Thinking About Water on World Water Day

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Installation view

Think About Water (TAW) is a newly-formed collective of 28 international eco-artists and activists whose work addresses global water issues. The organization has scheduled its first exhibition, also called “Think About Water,” opened in commemoration of World Water Day. Originating in 1993, World Water Day celebrates water, calls attention to the 2.2 billion people around the world without access to clean water, and urges individuals to become engaged in efforts to combat the global water crisis. Similarly, the goal of TAW and its member artists is to “interpret, celebrate, and defend water.” 

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