Canary Notes

The Personal Politics of Environmental Illness, digital paintings and culture jams, variable sizes, 1997-2006

“Canary Notes: The Personal Politics of Environmental Illness” This project has five components. The first contains the subverted images (culture jams) of advertisements for pesticides and the chemical industry from 1946-7. Within each ad I inserted an abbreviated story of someone who is either a canary or a potential canary. The second thread is made up of digitally painted and numbered portraits of various "canaries" whom I have met over the years. The third thread includes statistics about the poisoning of our environment, superimposed on scanned images of internal organs of the human body. The fourth thread is a personal narrative, a prose/poem that creates a chorus that unites the whole project. The text of this narrative is superimposed on silhouetted black and white portraits. The final and fifth component contains healing images inspired by buddhas and bodhisattvas, gods and goddesses. I have given that part of the project its own section (Healing Deities) on this website. This last series was painted in response to my then five-year-old son's question: "Are you painting another picture of a sick person?" Exhibited at the Art Bank, Shelburne Falls (1999), Institute for Social Ecology (2000), Concordia University, Montreal (2003), University of San Francisco (2006), Bioneers (2006). Performed as a slide/audio work at the national College Art Association meeting (Los Angeles, 1998) and McGill University, Montreal (2003).

Also included in this section are several images from the series, “By the Men Who Plan Beyond Tomorrow.” This series explores issues related to climate change and global warming. They were part of exhibition,Weather Report: Art & Climate Change, curated by Lucy R. Lippard for Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Colorado (2007).