April 22nd, 2021
Here at Gallery MAR we are committed to sustainability. We’re proud that many of our artists join us in this commitment by incorporating environmentalism into their art practice. This Earth Day we wanted to share some of the innovative ways our artists incorporate sustainability into their art practice to create more environmentally friendly artwork for your home.
USING SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS
R. Nelson Parrish has long been committed to environmental sustainability in his work Each of his resin pieces are created using environmentally sustainable automotive clear coat, reclaimed wood panels, and the more bio-sustainable alternative to traditional resin, called bio-resin.
Parrish has been working with Entropy’s bio-resin for almost a decade now. “Not all resins are equal in the way that not all bread is equal or not all cars are equal,” he explains. The brand of bio-resin he uses, Entropy is, in short, a derivative of pine sap and biodiesel remnants. Parrish elaborates, “The main thing is that it’s more sustainable: it doesn’t off-gas, it’s more archival, it’s more color-fast, it’s harder and stronger, and it’s better for the planet than any other resin out there.”
Electing to use more sustainable materials for the creation of art does come at a cost to the artist. For instance. Parrish’s bio-resin is approximately 40 times more expensive than traditional resin and far more challenging to work with. However, Parrish insists that it’s all worth it: “At the end of the day,” he says, “I’m making a superior product for my collectors.”
USING RECYCLED OR DISCARDED MATERIALS
Dolan Geiman’s transforms discarded objects into brilliant works of art. His ardent fascination with history has led to a lifetime of collecting, from digging for Civil War relics in his youth to rummaging through forgotten spaces today. These found objects inevitably found their way into his artwork.
Geiman writes, “I believe my artistic process originates at the moment I begin rummaging through an abandoned barn, a derelict warehouse, or a gnarly industrial scrapyard. To me, these places are veritable treasure chests of artistic materials. These locations allow me to discover vast bounties of discarded and historical items inspiring the work that I produce in unique and often unexpected ways. Each piece of art I produce contains material truly special to me for its ability to tell a story and stir wonder for the rugged American landscape.”
Jane Maxwell‘s mixed media collage work incorporates a plethora of various found materials. Maxwell explains, “I’ve always been drawn to vintage and unusual papers and other objects to make art. For years I’d been an avid antique and flea market forager – searching for anything from vintage papers to old game pieces to other funky ephemera. I love to work with found and vintage papers. I like the way these materials have their own history and unique patina. Collage was the medium where I could make art by combining my interests in all of these visual areas.”
Bridgette Meinhold‘s frames are created using reclaimed wood. Her husband, Matt Meinhold, builds all of her beautiful floating frames in the wood shop behind her studio. These wood frames add an element of rustic beauty to her encaustic works, without leaving an ecological footprint.
Besides, Meinhold knows a thing or two about sustainability, as a former sustainability consultant writer. Meinhold wrote and edited for a blog on sustainable living for eight years before publishing a book on sustainable housing solutions called Urgent Architecture. Meinhold elaborates, “we all need a cause to rally behind and open space. Protecting the environment is mine.”
James Penfield often reuses his wood panels when creating his landscape and wildlife works. Ultimately, he finds that the true purpose of his work is “representing the untouched beauty of nature, and showing why it needs to be protected.”
USING ELEMENTS FROM THE EARTH ITSELF
Sarah Winkler has started to introduce ground pigment from the landscapes that she visits into her landscape works. Winkler travels with a geology kit so that she can collect these natural materials with greater ease. On hikes, she uses the hammer in her kit to break away, “collecting crushed minerals such as Wyoming coal, crushed coral, and sandstone from various places.” Then back at the studio, she grinds the rocks, crushes them down, and cleans them. Once the rocks are transformed into a fine powder or pigment, Winkler then figures out ways to subtly incorporate these landscape materials back into the paintings of the landscapes from which they’re derived. This return to sustainable pigment making has put Winkler’s work in even greater harmony with the natural scenes she depicts.
Bridgette Meinhold created a new series of abstract landscape works called “Living Inks” using all found materials. She often forages for her natural materials on local hikes around Utah, collecting natural materials such as rabbit brush, elderberry, chokecherry, and more. Once these locally-sourced materials are transformed into naturally-derived inks, Meinhold then uses the inks to create abstract watercolor landscapes. As Meinhold writes, ““Everything always comes back to my connection with nature,” she says, “whether it’s getting closer to nature, being out in nature, or sharing nature.”
Many of our Gallery MAR artists demonstrate their deep affinity and respect for nature through their stunning artwork. It’s all the more inspiring to see how they’ve deepened this appreciation for nature during the process of creation through sustainable art practice. Now, their beautiful artworks not only honor the earth, but help protect it.
Written by Veronica Vale