Sculpting Sustainability: Art’s Interaction with Ecology

By Jade Wildy.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Since the industrial revolution, the earth’s environmental health has steadily grown worse, arguably approaching a critical state. While science and technology offer innovations to help move towards a sustainable planet, another less obvious field is also working towards a more positive environmental future.

Environmental art is defined as an artistic process in which an artist engages with the natural environment. An artistic movement that began in the 1960s, environmental art has gradually evolved into a form that encompasses a large number of ecologically driven works, which allow artists to improve environmental conditions through a more proactive, yet aesthetic role.

Environmental art draws on a wide variety of approaches, including ecological feminist principles (Ecofeminism); large, remedial landscape architecture; biosculpture, that incorporates a living components, like water purifying moss; as well as social sculpture that aims to combine environmental conscience with social reform. These works introduce an aesthetic dimension to environmental remediation, incorporating sculptural and design elements. While forming a core element of environmental art since its inception, ecological aestheticism is slowly becoming a more wide spread art form.

Presenting various different interactions between artist and environment, this paper will begin with a brief overview of the early environmental art movement that establishes the history of environmental art and contextualises more recent environmentally remedial artworks. It will also discuss some of the different forms of environmental art, to finally focus on the forms that are ecological in focus that repair damaged ecosystems, offer environmental solutions and generally serve a remedial function in a positive environmental future.

Keywords: Environment, Environmental Art, Sustainability in Art, Landscape Architecture, Biosculpture, Social Sculpture, Ecovention, Ecological Art, Eco Art, Ecofeminism

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.107-120. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 904.922KB).

Jade Wildy

Graduate Student, Department of Art History, School of History and Politics, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Jade Wildy is an art researcher based in Adelaide and is currently studying for a Master of Art History at the University of Adelaide. Jade has a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the University of South Australia, with a major in ceramics and a minor in painting. Jade aspires to become an art writer and researcher to pursue her love of visual art and art history. Her current research interests centre around contemporary art with a particular focus on environmental art, but she also have a love for psychology, biology and contemporary culture. Jade has written numerous reviews for Arts Hub Australia on both visual and performing arts in addition to several book reviews.


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