Of Lasting Importance
The artists represented herein beautifully highlight a myriad of reasons to move forward with sustainable environmental practices. Ferrella approaches environmentalism in his art judiciously while preparing us to think carefully about how our actions upon the environment can cause unintended consequences to our own health and livelihood. He urges consideration of “what we shape” and “what shapes us” in order to reveal that, for the most part, we as a species are the engineers of our existence. This is troubling in the face of climate change, drastic weather events and epidemic diseases, but it is also reassuring to know that if we have such a significant influence on Earth’s various systems, then we must be able to repair and reverse some of the damage.
Ferrella’s installations and the artists’ books, taken into consideration with UWM sustainability initiatives, offer an opportunity to “imagine” infrastructure that can transform the way we interact with the environment, for the better. They signal that a holistic approach, which implements the arts and sciences, is key to addressing pressing global concerns, such as protecting our fresh water sources. If we are passive to infrastructure, architecture and art that does not move us towards a more ecologically conscious way of life within our constructs of Manifest Destiny then we will find everything on our planet, including plants, animals, entire ecosystems and even human life, to be ephemeral. As we move forward we must accept that we are inherently connected to the health of Earth and we must work on this puzzle collaboratively in order to deliver the delights of a healthy and ecologically diverse planet to future generations.
Pamela Caserta Hugdahl, Curator
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee