The final semester of my MFA in Arts and Humanities at Dundee University is beginning and with it comes a great change to my artwork. I am now self identifying as an Environmental Artist. As climate change becomes an increasingly prominent issue in everyday life, I have moved towards creating artwork which serves a purpose beyond aesthetics, but also does something to decrease the impact humankind has had on the planet Earth.
The aim of my final show is to show Dundee City council and community that natural plants and urban environments can coexist. Currently, landscaping is a second thought, often focusing on aesthetic improvements to unused land in-between man-made structures. However, following in the footsteps of environmental artists such as Agnes Denes and Joseph Beuys, and stated eloquently in Yuriko Saito’s Everyday Aesthetics, “In some environmental art works, the aesthetic and the practical are inseparable. Many of today’s environmental artists are committed to improving the state of the world in the most literal sense...Artist’s projects integrate their artistic design, such as geometrical figures or figurative images, with the actual clean-up of the site, as well as the restoration of native plants, providing a habitat for indigenous creatures ” (Saito, 31). The intention of creating purposeful aesthetic improvements to urban environments is pragmatic, utilizing creative problem solving to tackle multiple issues of urban life such as pollution, lack of green-spaces, habitat loss, etc, with beautiful solutions. In Dundee, there are already groups such as Bonnie Dundee and Open/Close Dundee who work to make Dundee as beautiful and environmentally friendly as possible, however working through bureaucracy deters even the most hopeful individuals. Though it is near impossible to create large scale change as an individual, I hope that through this three-tier project, I can add a small drop in the bucket of aesthetic and environmental improvements to the city of Dundee.