Ramapo College is currently hosting “It’s the End of the World as We Know it (and I Feel Fine),” an exhibition of artwork dedicated to bridging the gap between art and environmental science.
The exhibition in located in the Kresge & Pascal Art Galleries of the Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts. The program continues through March 6, and students can visit for free at any time between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.
The college also hosted a panel with some of the artists and two Ramapo professors from the school of Theoretical and Applied Sciences. The panelists showcased their work and engaged in a discussion on the importance of art in environmental conservation.
According to a College press release, “The images in the exhibition directly confront feelings of shock and even despair at the forces of such radical changes taking place on our planet.”
Amy Lipton, the curator of the exhibition, said during the panel discussion that the goal of the program was to attract attention towards “very current problems we have in our environment.”
Representing environmental and scientific issues through art is “not a huge trend unfortunately,” said Lipton, “though it should be.”
The paintings and drawings in the gallery represent issues that do not get very much attention in the public space such as toxic waste spills, destruction of habitats and building of massive structures.
“Silence speaks through painting,” said Marion Wilson, one of the artists at the panel discussion.
The idea of the exhibition is to use the unorthodox approach of fine arts to attract attention to environmental issues. Some of the major topics presented in the authors’ work include climate change, pollution, resource-consumption and disasters.
“It was great to see an exhibit on such a relevant contemporary social issue as climate change,” senior Tsveta Dobreva said. “I liked the big variety of artists and topics that were covered.”
The exhibition features the work of 14 different artists, including George Boorujy, Aviva Rahmani, Peter Edlund and Marion Wilson, who attended the panel discussion.
Even though the paintings are unified under the theme of human-environment interaction, the technique, style and ideas vary a great deal from artist to artist.
The issues are presented through different mediums: drawings, paintings, collages and the combination of images. Large paintings of landscapes contrast with miniatures and works that focus on colors and symbols.
Some of the pictures, such as Sarah McCoubrey’s work, portray landscapes based on actual sites. Other artists, like Kimberly Hart and Aviva Rahmani, incorporate imaginary scenarios, abstract images and symbols.
Peter Edlund’s work is using visual translation, or “painting the names of places,” of indigenous origin in New York, as explained by the artist at the panel. George Boorujy creates fictional architectural landscapes that appear plausible and could be constructed.
“This show represents a growing trend in academic colleges and museums for involving non-art disciplines in exhibitions and programs…something Ramapo has been doing for a while,” said Syndey Jenkins, gallery director of the Berrie Center. “The exhibition and discussion is very timely in light of President Obama’s inaugural speech where he said he is making global warming concerns a priority.”
Sophomore Elizabeth Kluxen attended the environmental panel and found it “pretty interesting.”
“I felt like the artists really cared about the environment and were trying to make a difference in a medium they felt most comfortable in,” Kluxen said. “I was particularly interested in the different directions the artists took their work in: from painting the true names of locations to the miniatures. I felt like the artists really cared about the environment, and were trying to make a difference in the medium they felt most comfortable in.”