Mesa College Art Gallery is hosting a new art exhibit, Endangered: Exploring California’s Changing Ecosystem. An interactive and educational exhibition, Endangered invites attendees to explore the work of eight artists whose explore the continuing devastation of our local flora and fauna. Through photographs, paintings, sculptures, and video, the artists in this exhibition—Stephanie Bedwell, Kira Carrillo Corser, Michael Field, Stacie Birky Greene, Sasha Koozel Reibstein, Jim Riley, Jen Trute and Ruth Wallen—shed light on some of the blight happening in our regional ecosystems. Working with local scientists, students and eco-conscious organizations this exhibition presents evidence of the dramatic changes happening in our local environment and encourages dialogue on how the public can participate in finding and implementing positive solutions.
The eight artists selected to participate in this exhibition have made a long-standing commitment to environmental justice and continue to investigate complex issues utilizing an aesthetically rich and creative process. Stephanie Bedwell examines the ongoing demise of the bee population through her expressive intricately detailed sculptures. She places this important pollinator in challenging environments, forcing the viewer to question the health and survival of the insect. Native birds are the main focus of Stacie Birky Greene’s delicately drawn gridded compositions. She presents a collection of meticulously rendered California endangered and extinct birds exposing only a small portion of the 1,300 avian species globally facing extinction. Kira Carrillo Corser is also interested in how pollution is affecting our environment. Her two lush mixed media pieces comment on plastic pollution in our oceans and rising carbon dioxide levels created by an increased concentration of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere.
Michael Field’s compelling photographic landscapes document the cycles of abundance and scarcity, the before and after, found along the shorelines of Ancient Lake Cahuilla and the present day Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley. Meanwhile, Trute’s fantastical paintings reflect concerns about the human impact on nature and the fragility of Earth’s ecosystem. Reibstein’s organic ceramic sculptures seduce with the use of shiny and textured materials while serving as reference to the native California flora that has seen dramatic changes over the past 100 years. Artist and scientist Ruth Wallen presents photo collages and didactic graphics from her series “If Frogs Sicken and Die What Will Happen to the Princes?” to illustrate hazards in our environment that are endangering and killing frogs. Finally, Jim Riley, founder of the Jardin Botanico San Quintin, an organization that promotes the study and conservation of natural habitats, presents digital media work to inform viewers about critical habitats in San Diego.
The exhibition will also feature photographs by San Diego Mesa College Biology students featuring endangered, threatened, invasive, endemic, and native plants and animals. In the gallery visitors will have the opportunity to take action by making a pledge to the environment. A wall will be available for visitors to write down how they promise to change their lifestyle to positively impact our collective future.