Our Changing Planet

“I honestly believe that our rapidly changing planet, and the ongoing climate-induced global challenges we face, can’t be solved without a greater emphasis on the creative arts.” Michael Gresalfis video presentation of his artworks with his own narration offers educators and advocates one example of personally communicating the science of climate change through a creative medium — from the failure of major global COP conferences that don’t engage imagination and trust, to the clear evidence of environmental collapse and some of the many positive actions we can take to counter this.


My goal in creating my ‘Our Changing Planet’ 12 wax-based painting series and associated video is to highlight some of the ongoing consequences of our species to the web of life, by integrating art with science data to more effectively communicate these challenges to the health of the atmosphere, forests, plants, animals, water, and associated ecosystems.

Michael Gresalfi is an artist who seeks to incorporate art with climate change data, and whose work in encaustic medium, glass paint, oils and acrylics includes ‘Our Changing Planet’.

 

I primarily work with encaustic medium (and occasionally with oils, glass paint, and acrylics too) on various mediums, to include canvas, fiberboard, wood and most recently mirrors. My style moves between semi-realism, as in my ‘flower’ series, to more expressionistic and abstract styles, as in my ‘reflection’ series which utilizes large framed mirrors as the canvas for my encaustic wax artistry. An example in my ‘reflection’ series is ‘Floral Delight’, a framed 43″ x 33″ work that leaves strategic areas open (thus allowing the mirror to be exposed) in each finished work, in order to allow the next owner to also contribute to the work (a co-artist of sorts). The location or placement of my mirror-based paintings creates unique reflections inside the painting; once the art is positioned and installed by the next owner. I produced this work, having been inspired over the years by the idea of creating interactive art based on the actual placement on a wall by the next owner. I hung this painting in various rooms in my home to see how the reflections might alter the visual experience and mood of this abstract floral arrangement. When the reflections were coming from outside my home — with the reflections of trees, or gardens, or even clouds and sky — the experience was so drastically different from one another as to cause me some level of excitement (I admit). This held true as well when I placed this work so that different home interior reflections were dominant. The variation of lighting, both natural as well as man-made, also brought interesting changes to view. You see, given that the wax itself allows some of the available light to come back out through it (given the mirrored background) towards the viewer – there is sometimes a subtle glow to the flowers themselves. In the end, the next owner can themselves play around with different possible locations to hang up my mirror-based ‘reflection’ series paintings and truly become co-artists with me in the creative process.

The image I have featured with this Creative Showcase, ‘COP-Out #26′ (22″ x 14″ wax and acrylics on poster board) comes from my series ‘Our Changing Planet’ and the video of that series. The real challenge facing negotiators at the COP-26 was the issue of trust, or rather, the lack of it. To me, the agreements finally set were a ‘cop-out,’ and as my painting depicts, time is quickly running out to generate universal resolve to move away from fossil fuels, or we will all face the inevitable consequences.

As the ‘Our Changing Planet’ series and video illustrates, I honestly believe that our rapidly changing planet, and the ongoing climate-induced global challenges we face, can’t be solved without a greater emphasis on the creative arts. With that in mind, I suggest that we need to more fully integrate the creative elements of humanity in our approaches to managing the effects of climate change, particularly when building awareness of the man-induced effects on our planet, through both educational and public outreach.

I believe that we need to broadly include the creative arts in the classrooms and lecture halls when explaining the rapidly changing global environment and more fully integrate the use of the visual arts, the performance arts and poetry, along with STEM data- driven findings and solutions, in building a sense of shared responsibility and trust in the message (and messenger) if we are to succeed in achieving our common interest in a healthy world.

My goal in creating my ‘Our Changing Planet’ 12 wax-based painting series and associated video is to highlight some of the ongoing consequences of our species to the web of life, by integrating art with science data to more effectively communicate these challenges to the health of the atmosphere, forests, plants, animals, water, and associated ecosystems.


As well as the embedded version above, you can view Michael’s 18-minute Our Changing Planet video at his website, where the ‘Our Changing Planet‘ series of pictures are also available along with his ‘Reflection’ series and others — including ‘Floral Delight‘.

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