Let's Be Bold!
Let us not be timid regarding eco art and aesthetics. It is through aesthetics that eco artists can rise above the roster of today’s hot artists and assert their eligibility for acclaim in the future annals of art history. Why? Because most of the artists attracting market hoopla are merely perpetuating the speed, power, and convenience of push-button technologies that originated fifty or more years ago. This is old news. By addressing this era’s key concern – the faltering of the planet’s systems and functions - eco artists are truly eligible for master-status. They fulfill a hallowed qualifier of ‘great’ art by creating art that is not only innovative; it is also timely.
Some eco artists are fulfilling this mandate by envisioning the aesthetic qualities of ecosystems: vitality, multiplicity, diversity, distributed influence, interconnection, progression, etc. In this manner, they are applying to the current era the same level of significance that Cubists achieved when they fragmented forms to visualize revelations about the atomic structure of matter; and minimal artists accomplished when they ordered steel cubes from manufacturers to manifest the ascendancy of industry.
Let’s be bold and announce that every time eco art asserts eco centric values, it merits the respect granted to great art. Consider, for example, challenges to the anthropocentric definition of ‘beauty’. Instead of describing a condition that is pleasurable to human observers, eco centric beauty distributes pleasure among multiple forms of life. Non-humans are far less likely to respond to how something appears. They are keyed to how it functions. I believe eco beauty is, therefore, an adverb describing a beneficial process or relationship, one that proceeds ‘beautifully’.