Critical Messages examines the key environmental issues that face America and the many ways contemporary North-West artists are responding to those issues in their artwork. Environmental art is a new kind of mirror, a reflection of our past and a crystal ball holding visions of the future. In their approach to environmental concerns, some contemporary artists face critical issues head on: growth management as seen in urban/rural conflict; the connection of transportation and urban sprawl; contested sources of energy; mass production and consumption; toxic management of land, watersheds and waters; and dramatic climate change. Others accent environmental values such as preservation of wilderness and wetlands, sustainability and biodiversity; some even express this interest through the notion of artist and nature as co-agents. Finally, some artists have chosen to enhance the impact of current conditions and challenges by capturing their apocalyptic vision through poignant and dramatic renderings. This book reveals the overlapping causes and effects of these issues in the artworks themselves and in the resounding voices of the artistic messengers.
Sarah Clark-Langager is director of the Western Gallery and curator of the Outdoor Sculpture Collection and William Dietrich is assistant professor of environmental studies at Huxley College, both at Western Washington University in Bellingham.
Publisher: Western Washington University, Western Gallery