Jill Powers, a contemporary sculpture and environmental artist, did extensive study for her recent exhibition Trees and Insects in a Time of Change at the Natural History Museum in Boulder. She worked with scientists to gain a more expanded understanding and inspiration. The art exhibition focused on climate change, drought, and its impact on insect populations, especially the bark beetles in our western forests. The three "spirit" trees in Requiem for a Forest (at right) are made from bark fiber that has been opened and shaped in a labor-intensive process that Jill finds meditative. "The unique qualities, and deep presence of the material infuse my art and the questions I ask of it." Most of Jill's art is made from a sustainably grown inner bark, called Kozo. The trees in the Requiem installation have been harvested from forests attacked by bark beetles, and each one shows evidence of the beetle's presence. Pine needles from the trees are sprinkled below the trees. The exhibition also incorporates video and sound pieces that bring the presence of the bark beetles into the gallery.
"It has been very moving to witness people who have experienced the exhibition. Many have said that they now understand on a much deeper level how interconnected we are with our environment, in layers of interdependency that they had never grasped before. Instead of turning away from difficult issues, they have been deeply inspired by the art and are more open to becoming involved."
Jill is adjunct faculty in the Visual Art Department of Naropa, currently teaching courses in 3D Design with Ephemeral Media, and Eco Art. Read about one of Jill's courses in "Learning from the Earth."
"All of my courses are taught from a personal ecological perspective. The students focus on sustainable studio practices, extensive experimentation with natural processes, ephemeral art, and natural materials." She recently was chosen for the environmental Terraphilia Artist Residency in Colorado. To see more of Jill's art, go to www.jillpowers.com. Read an interview with Jill in Hand Eye Magazine.