Wildling Museum of Art and Nature debuts new climate change exhibition
After two years of preparation, the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature is presenting its first exhibition focused on climate change.
Titled “Fire and Ice: Our Changing Landscape,” it opens to the public April 9
and continues through Sept. 26. The public is invited to attend an opening reception celebrating the new exhibition from 3 to 5 p.m. April 10 at the Wildling Museum, 1511-B Mission Drive in Solvang.
Curated by executive director Stacey Otte-Demangate, executive director, the immersive exhibition features 10 artists depicting the opposing forces of fire and ice across a range of media, including video installations, acrylic paintings, photography, mixed media, fabric panels, an ice drill and more.
Two artists used natural materials in their works. Xavier Cortada of Miami incorporated glacial ice and Arctic dirt into abstract paintings, and Amiko Matsuo, a Seattle artist, utilized ash and Phos-Chek fire retardant used in firefighting efforts for her large-scale abstract artworks.
“The exhibition’s dramatic visuals of fire and ice invite conversations about how increasingly frequent and severe fires are altering our landscape, particularly in the Western U.S. Equally concerning is the retreat of glaciers and shrinking snowpack as well as warming permafrost in our colder climes,” said Ms. Otte-Demangate.
Three of the featured artists focusing on ice — Mr. Cortada, Anna McKee and David Rosenthal — have participated in the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program and were inspired by their time at one of three stations at the Antarctic.
“I have traveled to remote field camps with glaciologists to perceive these places through their eyes and my own observations,” said Ms. McKee. “My art about glaciers and ice science is in part an attempt to cope with the grief of environmental degradation.”
Artist Suze Woolf has created fabric panels of burned tree bark paired with firefighter and writer Lorena Williams’ contemplative text on wildfires. Ms. Williams’ musings appear on the reverse of each bark panel.
“To the north, the Dixie fire handily consumed another 5,000 acres today and is nearing 500,000 total,” Ms. Williams writes. “The radio is reporting on the U.N. Climate Panel report, which unleashed 14,000 scientific studies to tell us, yet again, that it’s almost too late to stop this. I drive over a pass with shimmering stands of regal, verdant oaks and repeat the word aloud: Almost.”
Also included in the exhibition is “Letters to the Future,” an interactive installation by Mr. Cortada that invites visitors to write to future generations about their own efforts to help mitigate climate change and share their feelings about it. A resource table will also offer visitors a chance for reflection with books for further insight on climate change, some of which will be available in the museum’s gift shop.
The exhibition features artists David Paul Bayles (Oregon), Xavier Cortada (Florida), Zaria Forman (New York), Amiko Matsuo (Washington), Anna McKee (Washington), David Rosenthal (Alaska), Ethan Turpin (Santa Barbara, The Environment Makers (Santa Barbara), Lorena Williams (Colorado) and Suze Woolf (Washington).
“The Wildling is a member of the Environmental Alliance of Santa Barbara County Museums is a collaboration of 12 museums, a zoo and a botanic garden that are among the community’s most trusted and independent voices for science and truth,” said Ms. Otte-Demangate.
“The alliance collectively presents programs, exhibitions and events that seek to elevate different environmental issues and prompt action. The initiative’s inaugural effort is ‘Impact: Climate Change & the Urgency of Now,’ a multidisciplinary project aimed at building a greater collective responsibility for reversing the effects of the planet´s rising temperature. “From April through September, residents and visitors to Santa Barbara County can enjoy a rich program of exhibitions and events across the participating venues. Visit www.sbmuseumsalliance.org for more information.”