Introduction: The value of addressing contemporary eco art from an art historical perspective far exceeds constructing a list of influences and precedents. The history of this burgeoning art movement reveals a seismic shift in humanity’s relationship with the planet’s myriad living populations, substances, and conditions, awkwardly referred to as ‘nature’. Masterworks from across time and space provide evidence that nature provided the wellspring of metaphors, the standards of beauty, and the sources of wisdom that inspired them. Today, ‘nature’ is so beleaguered, it no longer seems capable of providing solace and insight.
However, today’s artists have not abandoned art making because the age-old source of inspiration has been corrupted. The resilience and ingenuity of the artists in this book demonstrate that nature’s role has shifted in response to its current jeopardy. Artists are joining the ranks of environmentally conscious people who, instead of ‘taking’ inspiration, are ’offering’ behavioral reforms and determined attempts at remediation. They are striving to restore nature’s material splendor, its teeming forms of life, and its mighty forces. Thus, while art movements, and aesthetic concepts, and strategies of art display, and conditions for art production comprise the content of the research and discussion topics that follow, interactions with non-human realms, as conveyed by eco artists, provide this section’s significant subtext.