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Indepth Arts News:

"Recycled Revisited: Artistic Responses to the Earth Charter"
2005-07-01 until 2005-09-21
Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art
New Platz, MY, USA United States of America

Australian artist, John Dahlsen has been invited to both curate and participate as an exhibiting artist in an exhibition titled : "Recycled Revisited‚ Artistic Responses to the Earth Charter" at the The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art in New York State. He joins Dr. Alice Wexler in curating the show, which is an acknowledgment to the principals of the Earth Charter. Member artists of The Arts Society of Kingston (ASK), a membership organization based in Kingston, New York, are represented in this exhibition. This represents a first for Dahlsen, to be invited to curate an exhibition as well as participate in it simultaneously.

The twelve artists selected by Mr. Dahlsen and Dr. Wexler in this exhibition, weave together environmental, social, and political concerns, to which all must be attended for a sustainable future. By employing a variety of media that range from plastic bags, shoes, rocks, and bones, to more traditional materials, they challenge the concept of the artist as removed from society in favour of the artist as responsive and responsible to society. Through issue oriented, challenging works, the artists inspire an appreciation for the fragility of the social and natural environments and a sense of global interdependence.

The Exhibition and The Earth Charter:

The exhibition is based on the Earth Charter, a declaration of the fundamental principles for building a just society with a special emphasis of the world's environmental challenges. The document's vision recognizes that environmental protection, human rights, equitable human development, and peace are interdependent and indivisible. In 1987 the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development issued a call for creation of a new charter that would set forth fundamental principles for sustainable development. The drafting of an Earth Charter was part of the unfinished business of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. In 1994 Maurice Strong, the secretary general of the Earth Summit and chairman of the Earth Council, and Mikhail Gorbachev, president of Green Cross International, launched a new Earth Charter initiative with support from the Dutch government. An Earth Charter Commission was formed in 1997 to oversee the project and an Earth Charter Secretariat was established at the Earth Council in Costa Rica.

"The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It seeks to inspire in all peoples a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the human family and the larger living world. It is an expression of hope and a call to help create a global partnership at a critical juncture in history."

The principles of the Earth Charter reflect extensive international consultations conducted over a period of many years. These principles are also based upon contemporary science, international law, and the insights of philosophy and religion. Successive drafts of the Earth Charter were circulated around the world for comments and debate by non-governmental organizations, community groups, professional societies, and international experts in many fields. Based in Byron Bay Australia, John has over the years, scoured the beaches on the Eastern Seaboard of Australia for washed up "ocean litter - a worldwide phenomena affecting beaches on a global level." His work develops underlying environmental messages inherent in the use of this kind of medium and includes artworks as diverse as assemblages, sculptures, installations, prints and paintings. Takashi Abe and Dennis Connors represent the cycle of life and death in contemporary society. Barbara Bachner transforms objects, fixing them in time and memory. Rimer Cardillo‚s images of birds are symbolic of the destruction of life as a result of human intervention. Anthony Krauss reviews the implications of Western cultural values and suggests possibilities for their re-organization. Iain Machell‚s „Site Photos‰ are documentations of landscape interventions with text from warfare graphics, security manuals, and military advertising that disrupt our enjoyment of nature. Meadow's series, "The Wood Spirits," represent the ability of natural materials to evoke memories of forgotten cultures. Franc Palaia's "consumer relics" hover between folk art and savvy media constructions. He gives them a second and more important life with the purpose of conveying references to environmental, political, and cultural concerns. Shelley Parriott's work is a metaphor for bundles of memory and spirit, and our tenuous material existence. Elisa Pritzker's "Pyramids of Naxos" is a work made while she was a US representative for the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece. "Garbage to you, Money to Them" is a project documented on the streets of Harlem. Cynthia Winika represents complexity, flux, and chaos with traces of exploding fireworks and plant-life contained in beeswax.

"The Earth Charter opens a new phase not only in the ecological movement, but also in the world‚s public life." Mikail Gorbachev, Earth Charter Commission Co-chair

In September 2005, John will be artist in residence at Jefferson City in Missouri USA, where he will be making a public artwork, made from recycled plastic bags for their sculpture walk. Following the completion of this residency, Dahlsen will be off to New York to deliver a lecture at the Dorsky Museum in the closing days of his exhibition there. John Dahlsen has been a Premiere Portfolio Artist at absolutearts.com since 2001. View more of his works at: http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/j/johndahlsen/ or at his website http://www.johndahlsen.com/.

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