“In her graphic memoir, Fun Home, cartoonist Alison Bechdel recalls seeing sunsets made “pyrotechnic” by air pollution from a local paper mill and a creek that was beautifully clear only because mine runoff had made it too acidic for life to thrive.
“Wading in this fishless creek and swooning at the salmon sky, I learned firsthand that most elemental of all ironies,” she writes of her 1960s and ’70s childhood. “That, as Wallace Stevens put it in mom’s favorite poem, ‘death is the mother of beauty.’”
The idea that suffering can beget art is hardly a new concept, but these observations about the environment have a particular sting in 2017, as Donald Trump pursues his plan to roll back efforts to fight climate change. Here in D.C., the city where Trump sort-of lives, artist Jowita Wyszomirska has tapped into the real anxiety many Americans have about the future by offering up a beautiful elegy to a suffering planet.
The pieces in Vanishing Point, Wyszomirska’s new exhibit at gallery neptune & brown, are conceptual of the highest order. She takes her inspiration from satellite imagery documenting the changing weather patterns near northern glaciers and, more locally, the Chesapeake Bay. After digitally tracing and laser cutting the images, she creates paintings that are at once elegant and frightening…”