In the “Solstice: Create Art for Earth” exhibition, Judy Chicago—one of the world’s most iconic artists—and Turner Carroll Gallery bring the work of artists across the globe together in the shared pursuit of justice for humans, animals, and the environment. This fight for justice surpasses barriers of race, gender, class, and even species. We are all bound to the Earth and only together can we save it.
The “Solstice” exhibition showcases the works of Judy Chicago, Swoon, and other artists from Finland, Iran, Italy, Japan, and the U.S. through a diverse collection of environmentally-focused art that calls us to reflect upon our impact on the planet and consider a better way forward. The exhibition acts in tandem with the international #CreateArtforEarth initiative conceived by curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Jane Fonda, Judy Chicago, Greenpeace, and Swoon to empower artists to speak through their work and spur global action.
Judy Chicago’s Turn Over a New Leaf ignites the exhibition. The multi-media work juxtaposes a row of hacked stumps with an Edenic, healthy tree, highlighting the paradoxical hope for ecological regeneration with the turning of a page. Chicago created Turn Over a New Leaf in 2000 as part of her Resolutions series, in which Chicago strove to remind us of our social contract to create a more just world for all. As is the case for much of Chicago’s work, Turn Over a New Leaf gains relevance with each passing year. A collaborative artwork between Chicago and seamstresses across the country, Turn Over a New Leaf demonstrates that healing the Earth will require collaboration on an even greater scale.
The show also features Italian artist Tomaso Marcolla. His work, Water, illustrates the reality of the ever-dwindling water supply, reminding us that the Earth’s natural resources are limited and swiftly disappearing. This artwork incites pause toward cavalier consumption, reminding us that water is finite like the tabs of a tear-off advertisement—there is only so much to go around.
Walter Robinson’s Squeeze 2 explores similar themes related to the scarcity of Earth’s natural resources through a parodic representation of the planet being “juiced” by the government.
The exhibition is especially piercing in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, on top of decades of ecological destruction. In this time of global uncertainty, one thing is clear: we stand at the crux of change. Composed by all, for all, “Solstice: Create Art for Earth” beckons creative unity through art and collective action against climate change. When it comes to turning over a new leaf, the time is now.
Morehead Cain Scholar
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill