Today we’d like to introduce you to Marina Moevs.
Marina, please share your story with us. What is your art about?
I am a painter, and my paintings are an extended meditation on climate change – more specifically, they question how we got to this place and why we seem incapable of changing course. Without question climate change is our most pressing global crisis – it threatens the very habitability of the planet we call home: Earth. We are destroying the ecosystem upon which our lives depend and upon which all the flora and fauna we know and hold so dear also depend.
The question I probe in my paintings is Why? Why are we engaged in such ultimately self-destructive behavior and why are we unable to alter our behavior? We know the consequences, but yet we do nothing.
How did you start painting landscapes?
I moved to Los Angeles in 1989 after having lived for many years in New York City. I was struck by the wildness, grandeur, and dangerousness of the natural environment of California.
Almost immediately I switched from being a figurative painter to making paintings of mostly invented landscapes. I found that the language of landscape painting gave me the vocabulary to communicate my interests more effectively.
And soon climate change became a focal point. It is hard to believe now but in the nineties and early aughts few people talked about climate change. My painting was an effort to say something, to sound the alarm.
What are you known for?
I am known for my paintings of natural disasters – floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts – a clear reference to climate change. But for me, the theme of the natural disaster says something more. It is a metaphor for the personal “natural disaster” we have to undergo if we want to save our ecosystem.
We have to destroy an ancient way of understanding our identity and be willing to embrace a new identity. We have to leave behind the notion of the individual, disconnected self and embrace our radical connection to everyone and to everything.
To truly undergo this change in identity means to experience a personal “natural disaster” as an old way of thinking about ourselves is destroyed and lands in ruins. Only when we understand ourselves to be deeply connected to our planet will we find the drive to do something about climate change.
Paintings photo: Robert Wedemeyer