The Holocene, our current geological epoch, began when polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers retreated from the surface of the earth. It marked the end of the Paleolithic Ice Age and led our species to prosper for the next 12,000 years or so.
But when will this era end?
Scientists have already proposed a new period called Anthropocene dating from the start of humanities great impact on the environment.
“This term is not official, but is catching on,” said Kathy Varadi, a SCAD MFA Painting graduate student.
Varadi’s upcoming exhibition is inspired by the suggested era.
She is curating an art exhibit titled “Anthropocene 2019” to show May 6 tob24 at Alexander Hall with an opening reception May 10. This three-week long show will display how artists of various mediums respond to humanity’s grave impact on the environment since the industrial revolution.
The night will begin with music, poetry and a panel discussion.
A lot of the work chosen for the exhibition is 2D, however, all SCAD departments have been invited and painting, printing, photography, architecture, drawing, fibers, sculpture, animation, and poetry will also be part of this show.
Varadi has received over 220 submissions with 170 making it in so far. Stragglers are still being accepted although the submission deadline has passed.
Lisa Lebofsky, a professional artist and professor of art, will pave the way for the evening with her speech entitled “Revealing Nature’s Vulnerabilities.”
Rob Sutter, a conservation ecologist, and Randy Tate, a natural resource conservationist of 30 years, will then lead a panel discussion, “Responding to an Uncertain Future,” while highlighting sea level rise solutions and longleaf pine ecosystem management.
Tate and Lebofsky are merging art with science by displaying some of their visual work in addition to speaking.
Tate works with control burns of longleaf pine ecosystems and photographs the fires on site.
Lebofsky, an awarded nomadic plein air painter, will display some of her oil-on-aluminum nature landscapes. Her painting, “Polluted Surf — Maldives,” depicts a scene of a coast-line with textured sand. The texture made possible by the trash Lebofsky collected on the shore of said beach.
Alec Burran, a SCAD undergraduate studying architecture, will offer viable solutions to future problems. Burran will propose a redesign of Truman Parkway, post-sea level rise.
His project, “Embrace,” was inspired by a model of a future Savannah 30 years from now who would be facing sea rise, economic disparity and an increased need for public transportation.
His proposal was one of nine student projects chosen to be delivered at the SCAD Museum of Art Theatre.
Varadi’s exhibition theme was greatly inspired by Greta Thunberg, the now 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who made headlines last year for urging politicians to listen to scientists' pleas. “She speaks similar ideas than I am outlining,” Varadi said. “OK we’ve heard enough, it’s time for action.”
Climate change discussions are quick to summon a dark cloud over a room, however Varadi’s angle with this project is much more light-hearted and optimistic than one would expect.
“It’s a celebration of entering into a new era of how to look at the situation,” she said. “It’s so frightening you don’t even want to deal with it, but I think that the silver lining is going from problem to solution and that’s a celebration.”
What: Clark Alexander, director and professor at Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, presents “A Rising Tide Floods All Coasts – Sea Level Rise in Coastal Georgia.”
Alexander has degrees in oceanography, geology and marine geology. His research interests include geologic development of the Georgia coast over the past 2000 years, depth and habitat mapping in sounds and estuaries, and the impact of humans on the coastal zone and shoreline.
When: 6 p.m. May 8
What: Rob Sutter, conservation ecologist, Enduring Conservation Outcomes, presents “Collaborative Solutions to Rising Sea Levels.”
As the principal of the firm Enduring Conservation Outcomes, Sutter works with nonprofit conservation groups, state and federal land managing agencies and foreign countries to develop strategic conservation plans for organizations and protected areas, establish adaptive management programs and lead collaborative conservation efforts. His recent work has been with watershed planning in the Colorado River Basin, conservation planning for longleaf pine and facilitating workshops on coastal resilience.
When: 6 p.m. May 8
What: Alan Kindler, oil painting artist, presents “Mother is the Invention of Necessity.”
Kindler is an accomplished figurative, landscape and still life artist who moved to Savannah as part of an effort to reduce his environmental footprint. His experience as a dream-worker and a Green Faith Fellow inform the concept and process of one of his most recent works.
When: 6 p.m. May 15
What: Randy Tate, natural resource conservationist for 30 years, presents his photographs of fire.
While working for The Nature Conservancy, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Longleaf Alliance, Tate has found magnificent photographic opportunities while using fire as a modality to manage the longleaf pine ecosystem in Southeast Georgia.
When: 6 p.m. May 17
What: Kristy Burja, education and youth programs coordinator at One Hundred Miles (OMH), presents “Taking Action for Our Coast.”
Burja has been educating and inspiring individuals of all ages for the last 10 years through her work in environmental education and conservation. She’ll discuss what makes Georgia’s 100-mile coast special and how OMH is helping to protect and preserve Georgia’s coast through advocacy, education and citizen engagement.
When: 6 p.m. May 22
What: Lind Hollingsworth, mixed media specialist, presents artwork informed by ecology and art history.
While teaching art history, Hollingsworth became interested in icons and the belief that visual objects can possess a spiritual power. While the icons of old glorified human beings of religious significance, she created a series of icons that glorify the small everyday creatures that have supporting roles in our ecosystem. Unlike the icons believed to protect the faithful, these objects of devotion need our protection.
When: 6 p.m. May 24
What: Ben McGonnell, B.F.A. Film, presents his film “Eden Lost.”
A film director, cinematographer and artist who has climbed mountains and traveled around the world to capture the glory of earth with a tiny drone. His film leads us to ponder on the effect of humans on the earth.
Where: Alexander Hall Room 108, 668 Indian St.