Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Birds Are Nice: Eco-Political Art at Rolando Chang Barrero Fine Art Gallery

Diane Arrieta at Rolando Chang Barrero Fine Art

711 Lucerne Avenue
Lake Worth, Florida 33460

Grand Opening November 21, 2015

.  Little Panda by Birds Are Nice (aka Diane Arrieta)

The science: The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) has the conservation status of EN (Endangered). They are also considered to be conservation dependent; which means their survival is dependent on captive breeding. It belongs to the order Carnivora, however most of its diet consists of bamboo. The giant panda lives mainly in the Sichuan province of China. As a result of land use changes (farming), deforestation and human encroachment, the panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived. The Panda has historically been a target for poachers.

Panda bears are one of the most cared for species, with 40 reserves in China. It is also one of the most iconic species for conservation. Not everyone agrees that all the money spent on this species is deserved. There are not enough natural habitats left to sustain increasing captive bred populations. Wild panda population estimates vary anywhere from 1600 to 3000. There are approximately 266 in captivity. Estimates are not confirmed and the IUCN does not feel the population is stable enough to change their status from EN.

The art: Little Panda represents the plight of the endangered Giant Panda (discussed above); but also is a symbol for the fate of humans and the planet itself. The color red is one of the main colors in the work of Birds are Nice (BAN). It represents the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species; but also is a warning sign of danger…impending loss of ecosystem services needed for humans to live comfortably (clean air, water, etc.). Children are a constant thread in her work. They represent hope for the future.

BAN chooses to work in vinyl because of the ephemeral aspects of it. This signifies the fragile ecosystems and how fleeting life can be. Also having loved stickers since childhood, she states, "Making GIANT stickers is so FUN!!" (And you can stick them around town without getting caught!)

Diane Arrieta: Birds are Nice (BAN) is a visual artist and biologist studying wild dolphin populations. BAN lives in South Florida. Her work combines graphic elements with various printmaking techniques combined with illustration, sculpture and video. The work has a style rooted in the comic book genre, along with strong influences from Robert Rauschenberg.

Birds are Nice has a BFA in ceramic sculpture (Florida Atlantic University) and an MSc in Wildlife and Ecosystem Health (University of Edinburgh, Scotland). The main focus of her work is to illustrate the links between biodiversity (including endangered species), healthy ecosystems and human health. Children are a reoccurring theme in the works of Birds Are Nice. Nietzsche said, “The child is innocence and forgetting, a new beginning, a sport, a self-propelling wheel, a Sacred Yes”. Adults tend to over analyze everything. BAN’s work strives for the simplicity of that childhood innocence.

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