For Our Grandchildren supports artists whose work dramatizes the issues involved in climate change. The orientation of these artists may be political, like Franke James, or reflective, like Paul Roorda. Paul is currently exhibiting at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition running today until Sunday in the Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto. His stand, number 133, is in a shady spot in the North East Corner of the Exhibition, quite close to Bay Street, a few steps are a set of traffic lights. As the exhibition closes Sunday evening, our recommendation is to get moving and not miss this event!
Here is Paul’s description of one of the themes presented in his art.
Take Notice/Sky Notice
Recent work has expanded beyond my studio and the formal gallery setting by creating site-specific installations of small mixed media works on paper. Noticed in their public location, nailed and wired to street-side posts throughout Kitchener-Waterloo, the art briefly captures observant viewers, pulling them out of the insulation of their thoughts, if only for a moment, to wonder and create meaning of what they are looking at. Retrieved and presented as a collection, the full implication of each project is experienced as the work is re-contextualized and larger themes become apparent. Dealing broadly with themes of construction of knowledge as well as the ties between religious and environmental apocalyptic narratives, these projects use materials such as blood, coal dust, smoke, gold leaf, rusty staples, wire, and nails, Polaroid photos and vintage encyclopedia images to create works that gradually become weather damaged, lost or removed before they are retrieved for gallery presentation.
In Take Notice, hundreds of small paper cards frame images removed from vintage encyclopaedias. What was once the post war optimism of a vintage encyclopedia is now presented as an anxiety over the consequences of the unsustainable progress we have a compulsion to pursue.
In Sky Notice Polaroid photos of clouds are used to create art that is prophetic and poetic, full of both whimsy and catastrophe. The photos suffer colour distortion or overexposure and are scarred by rust and water damage reflecting the increasing anxiety with which we have come to view the sky: Global warming, intensifying storms, increasing UV warnings, and smog alerts have cast a shadow on our once bright and optimistic upward view.
Rise and Tempest explores similar themes using staples, rust and slightly pixellated graphs printed on vintage graph paper. Melting polar ice, atmospheric CO2, rising temperatures and changing sea levels are captured in graphic form but without identifying details. They hint at the underlying anxiety of a generation faced with uncertainty over the planet’s future.
Let us know if there are other artists who you think inspire us when we think about the defining challenge of our generation: climate change.