Oil and Earth is Environmental Art Activism; it is a body of work that explores the interaction between used motor oil and earth enclosed within a clear acrylic container. The artwork is pollution and it is documenting the effect of saturating earth with oil, viewable for many years to come within a transparent container – a time capsule if you will. This artwork is archiving our current paradigm, a paradigm of energy consumption and wasteful mismanagement. It is documenting what has been happening to our planet for the last 113 years, by bringing attention to the 158 human caused oil spills that has left 57 million barrels of oil on our land and in our water.
The inspiration for Oil and Earth was cultivated during a yearlong art study in Brisbane Australia, where I witnessed the Southeast Queensland Oil Spill that left the white soft sandy beaches of the Sunshine Coast contaminated with black and brown oil stains. The horrific human error accident changed my life and sparked a disquiet movement to environmental activism with my art.
I am using spent motor oil and unrefined earth as medium for a new form of oil painting. The oil is used as a media for the earth, which is inspired by the global pollution derived from mishandling the extraction process of crude oil. The use of the dirty motor oil is in response to the upstream companies’ production of oil and the black reflective quality exposes the portrait of downstream consumption. The acrylic container is also a hydrocarbon product, further emphasizing a dependency towards oil production for the material goods that are manufactured with it. The earth ; soil, clay, sand, and decomposing stone, which I’ve collected in the mountains surrounding Boise and the beaches around California, stands for itself; our home, our environment, our ground to life.
The actions of the oil conglomerates are not only impacting our own lives, but also impact the lives of all organisms on our planet. Our use of hydrocarbon has been rising steadily over the last hundred years and accidental spillage from drilling and transport has been increasing as well. There needs to be a greater care given to the handling of such a viscous material for not only our own sake, but for the sake of the future. We all share a responsibility to the environment; for we are a byproduct of it and are nurtured through it.