Exhibition of Photography of Gulf Oil Spill and Waste Stream Plastic Sculptures Speaks Volumes
• Daniel Beltrá - International Photographer and 2009 Recipient of The Prince Charles Rainforests Project Award to Open Exhibition with Photographs and Talk about Being Stationed in the Gulf
• Aurora Robson - Artist and Sculptor -"Up Drop" and "Belch" - Sensuous Sculptures Created from Plastic Headed for the Ocean and Pulled from River Waste Streams
• Kenji Williams - Visual Artist and Musician - Performing BELLA GAIA, Beautiful Planet - Featuring a Flyover of the Planet from Space using NASA footage, Photography, and Film Footage Set to Live Violin
6:00 PM July 27 - Artist's Reception and Talk, Beltrá and Robson - Ground Level
7:00 PM July 27 - Live Multimedia Performance of Bella Gaia by Kenji Williams - Upstairs
Aspen, CO July 27, 2010-SPILL : CRUDE RESPONSE oil, plastics and perspective - art exhibition will open on July 27 at 6:00 pm at 212 Gallery.
SPILL features photography, sculpture and a live multi-media, music performance. The artists reveal our culture´s deep connection to oil, uncovering beauty within tragedy. SPILL speaks both to the idea of the human being as indelibly tied to their environment and also to the intellectual rapture found in contemplating organic forms. Katie Kiernan, 212 gallery owner, and April and Glenn Bucksbaum of The Baum Foundation collaborated to bring the SPILL art exhibition to Aspen to coincide with Gulf oil and climate discussions going on at the Aspen Institute's Environment Forum.
SPILL shows us how artists experience environmental issues, and how we are all in it together.
The exhibition was created to give policy and industry leaders an artistic way of looking at the Gulf Oil Spill. SPILL artists bring us real life stories of tragedy and hope, from their eyes, and the idea that we need to continue to focus on how important and vital the ocean is to our collective daily existence.
Photographer Daniel Beltrá will open, SPILL : CRUDE RESPONSE, an exhibition featuring photography of the Oil Spill in the Gulf. Beltrá will share his experience of being stationed in the Gulf by Greenpeace on day 10 of the disaster where he photographed one of the worst environmental oil spills in history for 35 days. Beltrá was chosen out of hundreds of photographers in 2009 as the Recipient of the Prince Charles Rainforest Project Award where he brought his artistic skills to expose the plight of the world´s tropical rainforests. Beltrá again brings us very up close and personal to the center of the Gulf Oil story as it was unfolding before the world´s eyes. He will talk about the difficulties, as well as the importance, of pointing his lens from the air, the ground and the sea as the disaster grew exponentially.
Daniel Beltrá has photographed some of the last remaining pristine places on the planet, from Patagonia to the Arctic as well as many of the world´s worst disasters in environments that hang in a delicate balance. His artistic passion for what he loves is conveyed instantly in images of our environment that are strikingly aesthetic and evocatively poignant. Featuring astounding images from the BP Gulf Oil Spill, Beltrá´s aerial photographs explore the tenseness of the situation with oil seeping endlessly into an already challenged and complex ocean ecosystem while revealing the extraordinary natural world he was documenting. "Hidden within these images is another story about the state of our environment and the legacy that we are leaving behind. I hope to reawaken people to their connection to this ocean planet," says Beltrá.
Viewers are challenged to contemplate their relationship with the environment and how their actions will contribute, or not, to tip the scales.
Katie Kiernan, Director of the 212 Gallery, comments upon Beltrá ´s relationship to his art:
"Beltrá ´s artistry brings us in touch with the essence of a disrupted environment while capturing the elegance of its form. Both are expressions of an all-embracing attitude of reverence and appreciation toward the visible world and yet, are at the same time shocking". Through Beltrá ´s
lens we see the rapidly changing planet as he uses mastery and passion to remind us that the Planet is a beautiful place and we need to take care of it always.
The Spanish photographer, now based in Seattle, is well known for his artistic approach to environmental and conservation photography. The World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International and the National Press Photographers Association, have all recognized his work. In 2009, Beltrá won the Prince's Rainforests Project Award (PRP) for his conservation work in the Brazilian Amazon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia. Prince Charles gave a book of Beltrá's photographs to world leaders before the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December 2009 which was also combined with exhibitions in London, Paris, Berlin and New York. In 2009, Bob Woodruff traveled to the island of Sumatra to document Beltrá's conservation efforts through photography. In November, 2009, Beltrá was nominated ABC's World News Tonight "Person of the Week".
Aurora Robson-Artist and Sculptor
Aurora Robson will also open the, SPILL : CRUDE RESPONSE, exhibition with her suspended sculptures, "Up Drop" and "Belch". These sensuous installations are made from discarded plastic bottles and bottle caps and aptly capture the essence of both pristine ocean water and ominous oil blobs. Robson is a Canadian artist who grew up in Hawaii. She has a profound respect and appreciation for nature and all things organic. Aurora explains, "…without intervention, used plastic bottles have basically two options: becoming landfill, or getting "downcycled" "In the past year I have intercepted approximately 40,000 bottles from the waste stream, turning them into art instead of allowing them to go into landfill, our oceans, or the environmentally costly recycling process", says Robson. The Brooklyn-based artist is known predominantly for her large-scale works transforming bodies of plastic waste into ephemeral uplifting works of art. She is a leader in raising environmental consciousness in the arts and was extensively featured in Art in America in October of 2009. She is a teacher and an advocate, working with young artists and youth on large-scale installations comprised of thousands of discarded bottles, plastic bags and other waste. Robson is a 2009 recipient of the Pollock Krasner Grant and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Sculpture and a 2010 recipient of an Arthur Levine Foundation Grant. She has exhibited internationally and has works in major public, corporate and private collections worldwide. Robson is currently creating new work from discarded plastics for a large-scale solo exhibit/installation at SKYBOX, sponsored by the City of Philadelphia to be unveiled during Design Philadelphia in October 2010. She is also forming an international alliance of like-minded artists, designers and architects in a non profit called Project Vortex, creating a global opportunity for artists to join forces with Project Kaisei - Ocean Planet, featured as a speaker at the Aspen Environment Forum and the Ocean Conservancy to help eliminate the plastic vortexes that are in all of our oceans.
Kenji Williams-BELLA GAIA (Beautiful Planet) Performance
Directly following the artist talks, Kenji Williams, composer and artist will perform BELLA GAIA, Beautiful Planet, a multimedia film and music experience of flying over Planet Earth. The film and multimedia show integrates NASA satellite images of the planet and features Beltrá ´s tropical rainforest and Gulf Spill Images as well as National Geographic Arctic Explorer, James Balog images of time lapses of the melting arctic ice while Kenji plays violin. BELLA GAIA successfully simulates space flight, and uses live onstage musical performance, large-scale projected NASA scientific visualizations, cutting edge technology, a thought-provoking stream of crucial scientific data that showcases the amazing art and cultural heritage of civilizations inhabiting planet Earth. "BELLA GAIA is Just Beautiful. It really felt like I was back in Space", says Piers Sellers, NASA Astronaut, Spacewalker (STS-112 Atlantis, STS 121 Discovery). A "Living Atlas" journey of our planet, BELLA GAIA incorporates satellite imagery of Earth, timelines and data to elucidate the impact on the planet of everything from climate change to air traffic. Violinist and composer Kenji Williams will also perform BELLA GAIA at the closing ceremonies July 28 at the 2010 Aspen Environment Forum at 7:30.