Basharat Bashir

The world needs a mirror, environment provides many!

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‘For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life – the air and the light, which vary continuously. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.’- Claude Monet

The Environmental Art is a vast term that encompasses a series of art forms and movements in it.  As it often encompasses “ecological” concerns but the term as a whole is not specific to it. Environmental Art primarily celebrates an artist’s connection with nature using natural materials.  Environmental art has evolved away from formal concerns, worked out with earth as a sculptural material, towards a deeper relationship to systems, processes and phenomena in relationship to social concerns. Over the past few years environmental art has become a focal point of exhibitions around the world as the social and cultural aspects of climate change come to the forefront.

 Environmental Art received a strong push during the political and social upheavals of the 1960s, when a group of artists in the United States and Europe increasingly questioned the restriction of painting. These artists experimented with radical new ways of responding to the environment. The movement in general came to be known as Land Art, Earth Art or Earthworks. The movement gave artists more freedom and possibilities to experience the land itself rather than painting the landscape. Environmental art is often used as an umbrella term to encompass Land Art, Earth Art, Earthworks, or Eco Art. It encompasses everything from historical approaches to nature in art to more recent ecological and politically motivated types of works of art and develops a sense of relationship which we share with nature. In a general sense, it can be argued that environmental art aims to improve our relationship with the natural world. Thus, it includes art which experiences and interacts with the natural environment, art that gives an insight to reclaim and improve man- nature relationship and art which engages with the social environment with intent to initiate a change.

In a time when a man’s relationship with nature is uncertain and on an edge, it seems that environmental art is more relevant today than it would have been ever before. From prehistoric times, people have transformed the environment, but also sought to connect with natural forces through cave paintings, megaliths and stone circles. Since those times, artists have been profoundly influenced by images, colors, patterns, structures and systems of nature around them. Including a range of different practices and approaches

It can be argued that environmental art began with the Paleolithic cave paintings of our ancestors. While no landscapes have (yet) been found, the cave paintings represented other aspects of nature important to early humans such as animals and human figures. “They are prehistoric observations of nature. In one-way or another, nature for centuries remained the preferential theme of creative art. More modern examples of environmental art stem from landscape painting and representation. When artists painted onsite they developed a deep connection with the surrounding environment and its weather and brought these close observations into their canvases. John Constable’s sky paintings “most closely represent the sky in nature”. Monet’s London Series also exemplifies the artist’s connection with the environment. ” In 1891 he said, ‘For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life – the air and the light, which vary continuously. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.’

Edith Meusnier

Edith Meusnier is a french artist born in 1950.  She graduated from ANAT ( National School of Industrial Creation – Paris ) in 1991. After participating in many exhibitions, Edith Meusnier left Paris to live in Picardy , Aumont-en-Halatte in 1996. Edith Meusnier mostly works outside, making her garden her open air studio. A renowned figure in environmental art, Edith Meusnier ‘ s exterior work was first discovered in 1996 with the exhibition of her “Landscapes of Fireworks”, light, flexible and modular structures. In her personal approach 1, the artist declares “to divert metallic threads, plastic ribbons, packaging materials  from their industrial and decorative uses, to assemble them, to weave them, to fold them to materialize a playful border between flexibility and rigidity”. She plays with oppositions to create a bridge between the human dimension and the collective space, juxtaposes the artificial and the natural to better distinguish itself from the classical practice of land art .Her work consists in assembling plastic tapes, packaging materials and metal. It’s a different way to present these materials and make a union with nature. She has made an exposition called Paysage d’Artifice where she braids these elements.

  In an interview when she was asked to describe her work   Edith Meusnier said “Light, transparent, colorful, convertible, serial and ephemeral.”

“I have been working on the borderline between textile art and art in situ, I choose very trivial materials, I craft them with primitive textile techniques to produce simple geometric shapes, then I install these flexible structures in different urban or rural areas.  Playing with opposites, natural-artificial, continuity-brittleness, fragile-solid these parenthesis underline the tensions between realities and fictions of a selected landscape.”

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