Stephen Lee: South LA

Portfolio

Cause: www.stand.la -- An environmental justice coalition of community groups that seeks to end neighborhood drilling to protect the health and safety of Angelenos on the front line of oil extraction.

Stephen Lee vertical portrait.jpg
Jefferson and Budlong Ave. - 11'' x 17'' - Digital 

Jefferson and Budlong Ave. - 11'' x 17'' - Digital 

There’s an oil drill in my neighborhood. It’s been there for decades now, poorly hidden behind a vine-covered wall and some ugly topiary shrubs. In order to extract whatever oil remains these days, the drillsite owners have to pump a toxic cocktail of chemicals into a spiderweb of channels beneath my neighborhood--beneath homes, churches, and elementary schools. The chemicals find their way into the air and soil and water, and they make people sick. Nosebleeds or respiratory problems are common, and cancer and miscarriage rates are unusually high. Folks have banded together to protest this injustice, but response from the city has largely been indifferent. Progress is happening, but it’s been slow.

The Nature Garden - 11'' x 17'' - Digital 

The Nature Garden - 11'' x 17'' - Digital 

I seek refuge from this urban sprawl at the Natural History Museum’s Nature Garden, just down the street. When I’m there, it feels like I’ve stepped backwards in time.The garden is filled with endemic trees and plants and insects, the kind that were common in Los Angeles before we paved it over. I sometimes wonder about what will happen in the future once the drill site is gone. I imagine the vacant lot being rewilded with native plants, an act of penance of sorts for what happened there. That’s my hope, anyway.

Yehuda Blum: Brooklyn

unnamed.jpg
NY Sea #1 - Charcoal on Paper - 16'' x 20'' 

NY Sea #1 - Charcoal on Paper - 16'' x 20'' 

Portfolio: yehudablum.wordpress.com

Cause: GreenWave is an ocean farmer and fisherman-run organization dedicated to building a new blue-green economy that creates jobs, mitigates climate change and grows healthy food for local communities.

In New York City, myriad systems and structures intermix in a stark, densely layered matrix which can alternately inspire wonder and anxiety & transcendence and horror. Infrastructure frames and divides the environment at every turn while nature whittles and erodes the built world. These drawings of the sea from behind a gate at Coney Island speak to this mitigated and mystifying local experience of our planet. 

I abstracted the gate, ocean, sand, rocks, sky, and a distant cargo ship into hazy black and white textural entities and movements which stand only as vague suggestions of the original objects. These partial signs coalesce to form indeterminate monolithic planes where every element is equivocated into the groundwork. Architectural delineation and organic movements interlock and lie together across these even fields as imprints of the fraught yet compelling vantage point on Earth particular to where I live.

NY Sea #2 - Charcoal on Paper - 16'' x 20''

NY Sea #2 - Charcoal on Paper - 16'' x 20''

NY Sea #3 - Charcoal on Paper - 16'' x 20'' 

NY Sea #3 - Charcoal on Paper - 16'' x 20'' 

 

 

Andrew James McKay: Vancouver

Andrew Photo.JPG

I think a lot in terms of an indoor and outdoor binary, and how these influence ways of being. I always wonder how this influences painting and drawing. 

For example, working in cities of various sizes in Ontario (Canada) for the last ten years, I get a sense that--even while indoors--well... you’re really just in a sort of shabby and makeshift shelter regardless of the building’s sturdiness. I recently moved to Vancouver, a heavily forested area. I became aware that this causes a blurring of indoors and outdoors. This isn’t to do with some banal ‘northern romance’. The forests, through their density, become rooms. Things are so very rich with vegetation--old trees with signs of imminent collapse, burned out stumps from lightening strikes, notes of former logging, everything heaped up all over one another. You move away from the idea that you’re outside and vulnerable to a confusion about what you are secured inside of. My response has been to make work about the impact trees have on creating this feeling of nature as a chamber.

Western Canada Landscape - 14'' x 16'' - Acrylic And Ink On Panel - 2017

Western Canada Landscape - 14'' x 16'' - Acrylic And Ink On Panel - 2017

Burns Bog - 8.5'' x 11'' - Watercolor On Paper - 2017

Burns Bog - 8.5'' x 11'' - Watercolor On Paper - 2017

Heaps Near Coquitlam - Graphite On Paper - 8.5'' x 11'' - 2017

Heaps Near Coquitlam - Graphite On Paper - 8.5'' x 11'' - 2017