Introductory Essay – Sustainable Nature Solutions II

Beautiful by artist Suzanne Nagy, medium: led lights. date: unknown
Photograph of Suzanne C. Nagy

In Sustainable Nature Solutions II, Suzanne Nagy’s work addresses the problem of deforestation. Since the artist’s trip to the Amazon rainforest in 2013, she has focused her work on reforestation and recognizes its urgency.

Nagy’s exhibition Sustainable Nature Solutions II¬†features a series of fourteen large-scale LED panels emblazoned with silhouetted images of hearts. The heart, a symbol of modern life on the planet is juxtaposed with disharmonious elements of our contemporary culture. Each panel presents a conflict. In one, plants are paired with crystal beads, signifying the shiny, materialistic world in a direct message warning of the consequences of mass consumption.

As an environmental artist and activist, Nagy has created this series to bring our awareness to the problem of deforestation. Indeed the evidence is overwhelming. A recent study reported in the Wall Street Journal, suggests that the Amazon is losing its ability to absorb excess carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere by human activity, due to deforestation, as well as the massive dying off of trees in the rainforest.

“Each year, human activity releases about 35 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. About quarter of those emissions have been absorbed by the ocean; the other quarter is taken up by the trees and other terrestrial sources. The other half stays in the atmosphere.” (Link)

As a model for reforestation, Nagy favors one-tree-at-a-time established by The Green Belt Movement. This program has successfully empowered communities in Kenya and in Africa to plant more than 51 million trees by fostering collaboration and cooperation among community members and between communities of diverse cultural backgrounds. Nagy’s own project encourages discussion about the ways in which the successful methods of reforestation adopted in Kenya can be adjusted for, and replicated in, local contexts in other countries.

Nagy’s track record as an internationally acclaimed environmental artist extends more than forty years, with a dozen exhibitions of photography, sculpture, and installation art in the United States and abroad. Her credits include a publication entitled Pollution/Remediation, a series focusing on the physical facts, causes, and artifacts of pollution, documenting industrial energy production with transparent, light sculptures, called Time Capsules. This exhibition will present several of these light boxes documenting the industries that she sees as the worst offenders and largest polluters on the planet.

During the exhibition, Nagy hosted a lecture in conjunction with QCC Art Gallery. She is continuing her artistic and environmental efforts with Sustainable Nature Solutions III, Mutation, forthcoming.

Nagy firmly believes that art can impact us with its unique force, and is a powerful weapon that can contribute socially and politically to change the way we choose to take action to remedy Earth’s environmental obstacles.