You are on page 1of 2

Defining Environmental Art

The genre of Environmental Art is extremely diverse and many of the various interactions between artists and environment have attracted varying definitions and descriptions that are often used interchangeably. Therefore in any discussion of Environmental A rt it is necessary to establish the definitions applied to the various terms, and sub -genres as they are applied and used. The term µEnvironmental Art¶ is generally used as an umbrella description to describe an artistic process or artwork in which the ar tist actively engages with the environment. Hal Foster describes such works as: site-specific sculptural projects that utilise the materials of the environment to create new forms or to adjust our impressions of the panorama: programs that import new, unn atural objects into the natural setting with similar goals: time ± sensitive individual activities in the landscape; collaborative, socially aware interventions. This quote shows the broad range of artistic output that Environmental Art can cover that can be broken into the following sub -types. Environmental Bio-Art: Artworks incorporating living material, like plants or moss, for a restorative function, Earthworks: Large scale, environmental sculptures that use the natural environment both as site and as the materials for creation, Eco-Art: Broad term encompassing ecologically responsive artworks under Environmental Art, Ecofeminism: A social and political movement combining feminism and environmentalism, underpinning the works of many woman environmental artists, Ecovention: Combination of µEcology¶ and µInvention¶, encompassing artworks that repair damage to a natural environment. Also known as Reclamation Art,

Ephemeral Art: Art which is built to last only a short period of time. These artworks are often left to degrade in natural environmental conditions, Land art: Term used predominantly in the 60s and 70s, referring to large scale, artwork made outdoors on the land, bu t not necessarily ecologically focused, Site-Specific Performance Art: Performances in which the artist physically connects with a particular environment with their body in a manner that is documented through film or photograph, Walking works: Practices in which the artist uses the act of walking through an environment as an artistic expression, Environmental Installation or Sited -Sculpture: Installation of a sculpture into the landscape, which uses the environment as µsite¶ rather than material, Social Sculpture: Artworks focusing on the interrelation of the environment and society encompassing works involving the local community or requir ing the viewer to actively participate, promoting a consciousness of natural environmental conditions, Assemblage and Recycled Art: Works that utilise found objects (both natural and man-made) in their construction, Non-sites and Complimentary Gallery Based Works: Material from a particular site used in a gallery-based artwork, forging a connection between the site and the artwork. This can also refers to artifacts exhibited in a gallery relating to a site-specific work, including photographs, maps and other materials. The definitions provided above intend to shape these terms as they are used in this dissertation. It is by no mean an exhaustive list and the definitions can be flexible and variable.
To cite this excerpt:

Wildy, Jade C. ³Defining Environmental Art.´ Master of Art History, Adelaide S. Aust.: University of Adelaide, 2010.