LUMINOSITY “Dreamscapes Of Our Collective Conscience” Crystal Exhibition, Opens May 26th – June 28th, 2014 at Studio Anise Gallery, 21, Greene Street, New York City, NY, 10013, Tel: 212 933 1406 Hours: 10am – 6pm Sun -by appt.
Over the past few years, concern about the environment has been growing and is becoming ever more frightening. Droughts, fires, flooding, the Polar Vortex, tornados – watching the news is like tuning into a reality TV series on Armageddon. Of course, the cause of these shifts in weather patterns has been the stuff of much debate. Some believe we are witnessing a natural cycle of the planet’s life, which has seen periods of warming and cooling in the past millennia. (You can go to the High Arctic, to places such as Devon Island, now covered 2/3 in permanent ice cap, and the largest un-inhabited island on the planet, and see evidence of rock dwellings from when it was a warm and hospitable place.) But others point to man-made pollution, and they say that after a century or more of industrial emissions, it is too late to reverse climate change and global warming. What everyone recognizes is that, no matter what the cause, it is happening, and at an alarming rate. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) about the affect on human communities is hard to ignore. A warming planet will cause famines, major displacement, and even violence, they predict. So, should we hole up for the end of the world? I don’t know the answer, to be honest. Who does? We live in a time of uncertainty about the planet’s future. But I do think the shift invites some introspection about who we are as a species, what matters to us and what we are capable of doing to ensure our very existence.
We are at a pivotal moment where humanity needs to look within to see how progress and nature can exist in harmony for the health of the planet. The LUMINOSITY Collection is a new 14-piece collection of crystal sculpture and glass installations, which investigates human transcendence and our relationship with the ever-changing natural, industrial and technological worlds in which we live.
In Canada, we are blessed with some of the most unspoilt scenery in the world, but even our land and seascapes are changing rapidly. The Oil Sands and the issue of Fracking are probably the most controversial topics in Canada right now. They require high levels of water use to execute, producing carbon emissions, which are known to impact human health, cause disruption to wildlife and pose a threat to groundwater and local drinking water for surrounding communities. This is one issue, among many, which must force us to realize that new cleaner solutions for future generations is imperative.
My hope for the LUMINOSITY Collection is that it can draw some attention to some of these issues and illuminate the key questions of how cleaner technologies can be applied successfully. I have drawn upon my own travel experiences across Canada and my love of the natural environment to create these art pieces which ask us to contemplate our role in caring for the planet. The imagery is inspired by my travels to Western Canada, the amazing geological shorelines of the St. Lawrence River, Quebec and the wonders of the frozen tundra in the Arctic.
I believe we all have our own personal connection to nature (like a dear friend) but it is becoming weaker. This connection to our natural world has the real potential of becoming lost as technology draws us into a virtual one, where we spend much of our time and energy. Nature requires us to engage in a relationship with her in order to be reminded of her majesty and beauty. The rhythms and movements of life on Earth are hypnotic and familiar once revealed to us again. In a commercial world, which continues to rape the land of fossil fuel resources, we now have the added tension of wondering whether technology will be our friend or foe in the coming years. There is little argument that technology has brought incredible advancements to our world in only a few years, yet its greatest accomplishment will only be realized if we as a species harness its true power for the good in providing new forms of clean energy and a total shift in thinking towards a – dare I say it? – utopian world of peace. This focus should be the priority for the G8, as the exploding global population and a warming planet will only put further pressure on food, resources and sustainable living.
“Requiem for a Better World” pays homage to our fragile planet Earth. It also reminds us of our distance from it, and the need to understand the interconnection of all living things. The wonders of technology usher in a new unknown era for humanity, which hopefully can answer some of the hardest questions facing us today. The key is in finding the balance to harness technology for the good, creating a sustainable, cleaner world for future generations to enjoy and understanding that we are all in this together, in all countries, in an effort to collectively face the challenges of global warming.
It seems to me that this triptych of Nature, Industry and Technology are locked together at this moment in time, so I have portrayed this connection and adopted these pillar themes into a new style of engraving I am developing. The man-made optical crystal provides the perfect canvas to evoke what I believe to be the closest thing we have ever invented (in 1675) to nature, while also being the very same material to have provided us with our latest technological advancements through the use of prismatic light and fibre optics. (ie cell phones and computers)
I think of these new works as dreamscapes of our collective conscience. I feel strongly that human beings fundamentally know what is right and wrong. So I want to invite the viewer into each sculpture through the beauty of light and nature and present a juxtaposition of issues – our current industrialized state and what the future might hold with the introduction of new technologies. I am an artist not a scientist and I do not profess to be an expert in technology, but rather an observer of life, and a conduit for creating visual metaphors for dialogue on these subjects. I have faith in nature and art and in humanity, and I hope people will respond to what are clearly issues which affect us all and can no longer be ignored.
One of the sculptures I have created called “Connected Isolation” is a 3-piece sculpture which evokes the Arctic and depicts floating icebergs which appear to be melting like clouds, unattached to the blue ocean and simply drifting away effortlessly in front of our very eyes. Places such as Greenland are experiencing melting icecaps at an alarming rate. Studies have shown the rise in sea levels already. What will it be like in 10 years’ time let alone 50 years? The triptych of the 3 crystal prisms represent the earth, oceans and sky, and the linear engraved lines at the top of each prism appear fractured in the sky like a modern day light show of the “Northern Lights,” (Aurora Borealis), representative of the latest technological introduction of high-speed internet to the Arctic, in what was once one of the most remote places on earth.
Where does it end? Will nature and progress live harmoniously? Can technology be the saviour of our planet? In Indonesia, huge swaths of forest have been burnt down, releasing carbon emissions into the stratosphere equivalent to 4% of the world’s carbon emissions output. Why? To reforest the land quickly with palm trees to produce palm oil to sell to the food industry. Each forest will be burnt down again within 6 years for re-plantation. The capitalist/industrial imperative is difficult to change. Governments and corporations continue to look the other way despite protestations of environmentalists.
A fear I ponder in my art is whether technology desensitizes us to each other, isolating us from one another, despite the belief that the Internet makes us a global village. Without doubt, our world has gained exponentially from the breadth of information and knowledge now available with the simple click of button. But there are still a lot of unknowns to the strengths and weaknesses at play. We live in a world where we often don’t see the person or company we are dealing with face to face. Businesses and individuals can hide behind technology, limiting meaningful interaction and relationships. Is this advancement? If so, I ‘m not sure it bodes well for future generations. Our fundamental interactions as human beings are governed by technology. I don’t think I am the only one who worries about the amount of “screen time” we all participate in, sitting across the table from loved ones, preferring to engage in texting rather than real face-to-face conversations. So much creativity happens in the intimate play of ideas between two human beings who pay attention to what the other can offer and says and infers through facial expressions and real interaction. Technology can be addictive and disruptive – the new drug of choice, and legal, too.
The other day, I watched the first engaging episode of James Cameron’s new Showtime series, Years of Living Dangerously, which debuted recently in North America, and was surprised to hear how global warming and drought had a direct correlation to starting the war in Syria. Cameron, the great Hollywood director and underwater adventurer, states that the program is about people and the issues they are facing in an ever-changing global landscape of disasters caused by climate change. As images of severe flooding, forest fires and tornado’s appear across the screen, it’s as if Cameron had taken a page straight from Dante’s 14th century poem, Inferno. Cameron is a visionary in many disciplines and believes strongly that education is the key to turning public, corporate and government opinion around to making these important decisions which affect us all on the issues facing our planet. It’s a job akin to steering the Titanic away the iceberg – a disaster movie that made his name, of course. We can see it there looming in the darkness. And we can do something, I believe. We can hope. We can innovate. We can reconnect. We can care in a meaningful way.