Impacts on the Natural Environment

Impacts on the Natural Environment: Deterioration of the environment by human interference

Most people know what the results are from a devastating bushfire, but sometimes things are overlooked and we don’t realise what really has been destroyed, which may never be able to reproduce again. Things that are not usually seen, even microscopic life, wildlife, rare and endangered, textures and forms, plants and flora, and the ambience are all at risk, even our own lives, because we depend on the environment, so we all must sustain it with care. My current works were created to express these topics in a creative way through a variety of appropriate materials, including maps, drawings, charcoaled pieces of wood and other natural matter.

Experimental Art Work Examples

Impacts of the Environment: Deterioration by human interference
Works by artist Jessica Griggs 2011-2012

experimental art

Above: Experimental art pieces use paper, burnt sticks, charcoal pieces and insect wings.

Below: Drawn and burnt contour maps with dried leaves, burnt sticks and charcoal rubbing's on paper.

leaf contour  leaf contour

leaf contour  leaf contour

leaf contour  leaf contour

leaf contour  leaf contour

The above series of artworks focuses on the frequent deterioration of the natural environment, caused by controlled bush-fires. Research was conducted about the ‘mosaic pattern burning’, as it is said to be a method that does not cause too much damage to the environment. This method has recently been implemented to control burns and help the eco system in rejuvenation, however it has not always worked or been the case. Continual burns in some areas of the land are slowly deteriorating the environment, and often the unwanted vegetation grows back thicker and stronger; while the more delicate and rare flora is depleting, along with the fauna.

Some of the works include contour maps of local bush-lands in NSW and fragments of nature suggest the deterioration, fire was also used to transform materials for the work. The idea is aimed to arouse viewers and make individuals think or perhaps reflect on feelings that will eventually help to sustain, re-establish and preserve the natural environment further and with more care.

Influencing artists: Cornelia Parker, Nien Schwarz, Chris Drury, Mary Babcock, Alison Stigora, David Canton, Rachael Kierath, Cai Guo-Qiang, Lauren Fensterstock and Susanna Castleden.

Other influences: History of controlled fires, preservation, true stories and personal experiences... Visual Diary Example

Installation Artwork Example

burning art work example

Installation artwork using the 10x10cm works from the “Details in Creation” project, along with organic materials, photos and drawings of macro details in nature. The main idea for the circle was to suggest no escape for the wildlife or the living environment within the area of the circle. Sometimes several fires are lit and sooner or later join together, forming a closed fire shape, and often leaving no escape route for whatever life may be in the area. Fire can be our friend or foe, but one thing is for sure it is consuming and it sometimes leaves a permanent scar or devastating scene which may take many years to recover.

The grid section represents ‘pattern burning’ (a type of burn that officials complete within several areas of land, working systematically and burning large land areas). The circle was chosen because it can either be a safe place or a place of entrapment. In the case for this work all the pieces in the square were burnt, and a restricted burn was achieved for the circle, otherwise all the drawings, paintings and photos would have been destroyed. So the metaphor to my work was that the circle acted as the dangerous place for the environment to be in, however when the fire circle was doused, it changed the idea to a free and safe environment, ultimately to stop everything from being charcoaled.

burnt area

Pieces from the burning installation.

burnt art example

Pieces blackened by the burning installation were collected and transformed into other artworks that suggest deterioration of the natural environment.

burnt trees

Left: Frottage rubbing's on black paper, wrapped around a spotted-gum tree, depicting a burnt tree trunk with details of the environments patterns, textures and forms.

Right: Installation work using the black paper rolled to represent burnt tree trunks, burnt contour maps, pieces of charcoaled wood, ash, burnt leaves and sticks, found insect wings, and charcoal drawings on semi-burnt paper. The idea was to create a scene where fire had destroyed a living environment.

contour art work

Collected ash and charcoaled pieces used for a large installation work that resembles a contour map.

contour art work

Sections of the charcoal contour map on paper that was burnt in sections by the sun using a magnifying glass and candle flame.

contour map artwork

Final piece measuring 1.5 x 2 metres with hundreds of charcoal pieces arranged into contour lines, depicting the charcoal remains of a fire and the bare earth.

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