Ecological Art or “Eco Art” is a contemporary form of environmental art created by artists who are concerned about local and global environmental situations, and who take art making to a functional format.

The field is growing rapidly with hundreds of artists working around the world. For this reason, there are multiple definitions of “Eco art.”

For my own artwork and teaching practice, I start with the basic concept of improving the human relationship to the natural world through the visual art experience and products. This art-environment-functional concept can take many forms, including education, advocacy, negotiation, action. 

I note several working definitions here that resonate for me.

Excerpts from www.greenmuseum.org :

“Much environmental art is ephemeral, designed for a particular place (site-specific) and involves collaborations between artists and others such as scientists, educators and community groups.

Some environmental art:

  • Interprets nature, creating artworks to inform people and raise awareness about nature and its processes, and/or about environmental problems we face
  • Is concerned with environmental forces and materials
  • Re-visions the human relationship to nature, proposing and inspiring new ways for people to co-exist with their local environments
  • Reclaims or restores damaged environments artistically”

As Amy Lipton says in Ecovention:

“By breaking out of the traditional confines of what is considered art and engaging in real world issues - ecoartists are allowing their art to have a function. They are reaching out across disciplines and helping to bridge the gap between art and life by raising awareness and appreciation for our natural resources. By giving aesthetic form to restored natural areas and urban sites, they are engaging in a collaborative process with nature, practicing a socially relevant art. Ecoartists challenge perceptions using metaphor, poetry, symbols, images and narrative to translate ideas. They can see broad patterns that others may overlook. By implementing a participatory structure with the diverse people that make up communities, -politicians, urban planners, architects, scientists, educators and stakeholders- these artists are pointing the way towards a new paradigm of environmental consciousness and sensitivity.”

Link to an important online book, Ecovention:

Eco Artist Ruth Wallen (http://communication.ucsd.edu/rwallen/ecoframe.html )

“ Ecological art, or eco-art to use the abbreviated term, addresses both the heart and the mind. Ecological art work can help engender an intuitive appreciation of the environment, address core values, advocate political action, and broaden intellectual understanding.

Ecological art is created to communicate, to stimulate dialogue, and to contribute to social transformation.”

“The focus of a work of art can range from elucidating the complex structure of an ecosystem, examining a particular issue, i.e. a type of relationship, interacting with a given locale, or engaging in a restorative or remediative function. Eco-art may explore, re-envision, or attempt to heal aspects of the natural environment that have gone unnoticed or reflect human neglect. The work may challenge the viewer's preconceptions and/or encourage them to change their behavior. Metaphor is often a key element of ecological art. Metaphors help both to make apparent existing patterns of relationship and to envision new types of interaction.”

For more information on Eco Art in general, other Eco Artists, and lots of resources, please visit www.greenmuseum.org

What Is EcoArt?
Some notes on how environmental issues combine with art 
Cynthia Robinson
50 Kerrie Court
Moultonborough, NH 03254
603-253-7967
cynthia@ecoartalacarte.com

Proud Member of:
Americans for the Arts
The Arts Alliance of Northern NH
Eco Art Network
New England Consortium of Artist Professionals
New Hampshire Child in Nature Coalition
New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, Arts in Education Roster
The Orion Society Grassroots Network
Women's Caucus for the Arts
Women Environmental Artist Directory