Environmental consciousness and increasing concerns for the worsening effects of climate change led to the emergence of art that promotes actions to protect the planet. Many artists are quite involved with environmental art as this genre gravitates toward the use of recycled or natural materials such as wood, textiles, paper and other useful eco-friendly substances.
The trend in the concept of environmental art goes beyond the idea of creating visually attractive art, inasmuch as viewers are also moved to touch thought-provoking mix media creations and textured paintings. Doing so enables them to reconnect with nature since the art work can raise consciousness and appreciation for the natural world.
The Evolution of Environmental Art
Art historians attribute the roots of environmental art to 19th century artists like William Morris and John Ruskin, whose advocacy was basically against industrialization. The two artists founded the Arts and Crafts Movement that aimed to convince creators and artists to continue using traditional methods of craftsmanship. Apparently, concerns over potential environmental degradation were already being raised but to no avail.
In the mid-20th century, environmentalism became a political platform although it did not create a strong impact. Politics only weakened the response to environmental advocacies as the opposing conservative party branded environmentalism as a hoax.
Such circumstances compelled artists like Robert Simpson and Agnes Denes to produce large-scale landscapes that depicted the fragility of the environment, as well as instilled the need for humans to protect the natural world.
Yet it was only in the 60s and 70s that modern society responded to the campaigns launched by environmentalists. This was the period that saw the emergence of artists who, through their artworks and mix-media installations, highlighted the need to address the effects of environmental problems.
Global warming, pollution, deforestation and degradation of natural resources became subjects of environmental art. The artists’ use of non-traditional art materials like wood, textile and various recyclable items, not only inspired but also prodded people to take actions geared toward saving the planet.