Panel Talk: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene

Panel

On Saturday, October 13th, Kingston hosted a panel discussion by artists Linda Leslie Brown, Phyllis Ewen and Evelyn Rydz. They discussed what it means for them to make art in the “Anthropocene” – a term used by many to describe our current geological period where our climate and environment is most influenced by humans. Moderator, Samuel Toabe, Director of the University Hall Gallery at UMass Boston, asked the panelists a series of questions about how climate change, human impact, and scale affects their processes and work.

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Visiting artist Ewen discussed how early in her career, she became interested in imagery of the seafloor when artist Marie Tharp drew the first maps of the ocean floor in 1977. Ewen’s pieces in Deep Time were created with digitally altered versions of those drawings. Through them explores the sequences and shifts of an unfathomable geologic time scale and notes how currently those shifts are happening more often due to human pressure.

Scale is also an important aspect Rydz’s and Brown’s work. During the panel, Rydz mentioned that it takes 1000 years for ocean currents to complete their cycle. Over the past ten years, she has collected debris from coastlines along North and South America and though documenting these objects in her magnificently detailed works on paper she highlights the relationship between our everyday, wasteful lifestyles and our long-term impacts on the climate. Brown’s work also comes from plastic debris collected and repurposed into sculptural objects. Brown discussed working smaller in this body of work to get at a human scale, in contrast to the sometimes overwhelming global problem of plastic waste.

Linda Leslie Brown: Plastiglomerate is on view in the Kingston Main Gallery, Phyllis Ewen: Deep Time in the Center Gallery and Nat Martin: New Landscapes is on view in the Kingston Project Space through October 28, 2018.  Evelyn Rydz: Unravel to Splice was on view at Ellen Miller Gallery September 7th – October 20th.

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