The urgency to raise the issue such as environmental breakdown, overpopulation and vanishing species provoks the artists to work with our environment. Wilson introduces ecological art by orientating to how people feel the sense of insufficiency to understand the living things since “ typical physical science strategies of isolation and analysis might not work well to understand the living world.” ( Wilson, 129) Thus, artists starts to create gallery or installation works based on concepts of interdependent systems or create works in public space that interact with people to call the attention to the environmental hazard or to initiate action to stop the damage.
Ecological art works as the farmers in the land that we, as the viewers, get fed by it’s presence or interaction with it. The relationship between the artist and viewers is so direct and practical.“It is no longer regarded as romantic but exceedingly realistic to fight for every tree, every plot of undeveloped land, every stream as yet empoisoned…” (Wilson, 130)
In lecture, professor introduces Donald Judd’s artwork which composed by ten wood blocks that were hung horizontally upon one and another. Judd created artworks that used the real material in real space. His works occupied the three dimensional space to emphasized and focus on the importance of the space to the object. He wanted his viewers to see the work purely from the forms of the objects and challenged their concept of repetition, boredom and monotony. The style of his art belongs to the Minimalists’ movement that opposes to the expressionists’. Minimalist’ arts are more literal and reason based compare to expressionist’ arts that rely on emotions and abstract messages. Knowing Judd’s artwork provides me a deeper understanding and new perspective to see Bioart in ways both of the arts are similar in they can seem abstract but the message is so literal that just need its viewers to stop and think.
Even though Judd’s art did not deliver a message to raise the environmental awareness, it sharpened viewers’ sensitivity to the space and its meaning. It is a smooth transition to help me understand the Bioart. The concept of this kind of “practical and realistic” art intrigues me. In Wilson’s book, he mentioned Breathing Space, an art piece that was done by Newton and Helen Harrison. The Harrisons used Breathing Space to act on planting swamps along the river to help filter out industrial waste. Their idea is so fascinating that brings me to another of their ecological arts, Wilma the Pig.
In Wilma the Pig, the pig is “a random moving thing in the art” that serves to draw people’s eyes and “the significance of this piece is you will see all of the sudden people were looking at the environment,” Helen Harrison said. The Harrisons changed the form of art to achieve the purpose and further on to introduce another significance of this piece that Wilma the Pig is their first survival piece. Survival piece means that they were doing the art as they were going to survive the species and it teaches the viewers how to sustain an eco system, to grow their food and the importance of the element in the system to run a cycle. I really enjoy seeing all these artworks that were given with purposes and how humanity plays a big role behind each single one of them.