Brooks Frederick is an internationally exhibited artist, an environmentalist, and a social activist. He was raised along the Gulf Coast, and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His recent body of paintings—made with oil and tar from the 2010 BP oil spill—have been shown widely, and have inspired community activism against unabashed environmental destruction. Brooks leads collective art making events with people of all ages to find solutions to societal challenges. Brooks Frederick is an active partner with UER (United to End Racism) and Fort Greene Peace. He is an adjunct professor at Adelphi University and the director of the Brooks-lyn Art Academy.
“My work is created with tar from the BP oil spill that was spilled on the wetlands and in the waters near my hometown of Houma, Louisiana. These nontraditional “oil” portraits and landscapes are attempts to represent the human cost for our dependence on fossil fuels. The paintings depict the ancient and mysterious swamps I played in as a boy, and my friends and family that I grew up with along the gulf coast.
In this work, I am trying to take an unflinchingly look at the reality of our increasingly dire environmental predicament, while at the same time showing the dignity of folks who often aren’t given enough consideration- indigenous communities, the working, yet struggling fishermen and shrimpers, and the children who grow up on houses built on fast vanishing wetlands and toxicity. The physical surface of the work shows this struggle, this place between horror and beauty, between the grim and the hopeful.
I long for a day when I can no longer get access to oil greedily and carelessly extracted from my home. I’d like to have a reason to stop making this artwork. But in the meantime, I am grateful for the opportunity to share this work and use it as a starting point to facilitate artistic environmental empowerment workshops that focus on our connection to our precious planet and its waterways.” Brooks Frederick
Lisa Lebofsky is a painter from New York. Her paintings explore the emotional and physical human relationship with nature She holds a BFA in metalsmithing from SUNY New Paltz, and an MFA in painting from the New York Academy of Art. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows both nationally and internationally. She has earned the BRIO (Bronx Recognizes Its Own) Grant from the Bronx Council of the Arts (2010, 2014); and is the recipient of several residencies including: Terra Nova National Park, Newfoundland (2010), New Bedford Whaling Museum, MA (2013), Saltonstall Foundation, Ithaca, NY (2014), Jennifer Keefe Studio, Fogo Island, Newfoundland (2017), Cuttyhunk Island, MA (2017), Jentel, WY (2018). Lebofsky finds inspiration by traveling extensively to immerse herself in different environments. Recent travels include Antarctica, Labrador, Greenland, and The Maldives. Currently, Lisa is in the midst of a multiyear mission to paint across North America to better know the changes happening in our environment and the people it is affecting.
“My paintings bear witness and memorialize landscapes facing transformation or extinction as a result of human impact, in order to increase awareness of our changing planet, and inspire through appreciation of the natural world a more responsible and proactive stewardship. To convey these changing and ephemeral environments, I paint on surfaces that remain visible to permeate the entire image, guiding the viewer through various layers of paint. When I use an aluminum surface, the image becomes obliterated when light reflects off of it when viewed from certain positions. This fluctuating luster also mimics the subtle movements of light as experienced in nature. On canvas, I begin with a dark and murky underpainting – often created using elements from nature such as raindrops – that influence the softly painted upper layers of the piece. The push and pull of lights and darks, opacity and transparency, abstract and real, mirrors our complex relationship with nature, while the transient quality of the resulting image enhances the fragility of these endangered scenes. By painting our depleting planet in this dichotomous manner, nature also becomes a metaphor for our emotional struggles and encounters. In humanizing the story of climate change by revealing nature’s vulnerabilities as our own, it is my intention for my audience to be moved to respond personally and proactively.
I find inspiration by traveling extensively, often to remote parts of the world, to immerse myself in different environments and cultures. I seek out areas around the globe that are particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change, and meet with local residents to discuss how their community is impacted. To a great extent, these personal interactions inform what areas and what subject matter is ultimately painted. I have traveled to regions such as Greenland, Labrador, and The Maldives, either staying on a ship or on the move. Accordingly, I produced small studies en plein air in these locales, later followed by the production of larger paintings in the studio.” Lisa Lebofsky
Elaine Su-Hui Chew (b. 1978, Sydney, Australia) makes prints and drawings about ecology and consciousness. She is also the founder of Inner Fields NY, a roaming events project exploring Buddhist and Taoist philosophy through art, music, ecology and ritual. She has been training in printmaking for the past 15 years and has been the recipient of various printmaking awards, scholarships, fellowships and residencies in New York, San Francisco and Melbourne, Australia. The primary focus of her work is to nurture each viewer’s innate, natural wisdom and offer a reminder of our interdependent relationship with each other and the planet.