The Climate of Change

Joanne Artman Gallery
Jun 10, 2017 3:04AM

Art reflects life, and in the current global economy we see this more than ever as artists address contemporary issues at an unprecedented scope and pace. The 2017 Whitney Biennial is just one such example  - a radical departure from the established norm the exhibition included a diverse roster of artists working in a broad scope of mediums, viewpoints, and backgrounds. In perspective, it is no coincidence that some of the biggest leaps in art history have come at times of change and turmoil.

Jacques-Louis David,The Intervention of the Sabine Women,1799. Image courtesy of WikiCommons.

Sometimes such changes or departures are brought on through artificial means such as the imposed tastes of the ruling class such as the favoritism shown to Neoclassicism during the turn of the 18th century in France. This predominant artistic style was a personal favorite of Napoleon who wished to liken his rule to the elegance of the classics and the Greeks. As such, the art exalted during his reign bore semblance to ancient models and motifs, often bearing symbolic comparisons to antiquity.

J. M. W. Turner,Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great Western Railway,1844. Image courtesy of National Gallery, London, Public Domain. 

The upheavals and global economic, political, and social changes of the 19th and 20th century coincided with the development of Modernism, particularly the Impressionists and the overturning of the government sponsored Paris Salon (which represented the old values). With the Industrial Revolution came a wealthier working class, developments in film and photography, as well as a new way of looking at composition, palette, tone and subject matter. These changes are exemplified in the work the Impressionists such as Monet and Degas and anticipated by the Romanticists, especially in the light and smog-filled works of British painter J. M. W. Turner.

As for current events, the unprecedented proceedings in recent weeks have brought climate change and environmental protection policies to the forefront - touchstone topics of the current political climate. It is at times like these that we can look to art as an important tool of dialogue and exchange.  In appreciation of nature, the environment, and our global safekeeping here are a couple of works by America Martin and Eric Zener - artists for whom nature and the elements are a central, driving theme.  

America Martin
Women Swimming & Whistling
Joanne Artman Gallery
Eric Zener
Surfacing
Joanne Artman Gallery
Joanne Artman Gallery