Saturday, May 18, 2024

The April Art Gallery | Journal of Ecology Blog

EcologyThe April Art Gallery | Journal of Ecology Blog

This month we are featuring Chethana V. Casiker, Luiz F. C. Serigheli, Marta Barberis, Stephanie Glendinning and Bethany Bridge.

Mediums include tapestry, pen, coloured pencils, drag, tattoo, make up, look and performance, paint, sound, graffiti and watercolours.

Artist: Chethana V. Casiker

I am a researcher who studies bees in urban landscapes. I wanted to paint something that felt alluring to me, and was loosely inspired by my field of study. I drew the flower out of my imagination. I kept the shape of the leaf simple so that I could focus on using multiple shades of green. I wanted the composition to be a pattern of leaves and flowers, with tiny insects (bees, perhaps?) to be noticed. In a way, it is a tribute to the association between plants and pollinators. I painted this with watercolours and used colour pencils minimally to highlight.

After watercolour, coloured pencil is my favourite medium. For this piece, I worked using only coloured pencils, and used a photo reference. I had great fun choosing different shades of green and brown for the foliage and bark. When I look at the picture and close my eyes, I think of the strong warmth of the sun and the breeze ruffling the tall grass.

I think gardens are wonderful, especially those that aren’t pruned too heavily. They are precious pockets of green and calm in otherwise busy cities. Research has shown that gardens can hold surprisingly high levels of biodiversity. I wanted to add in detail without getting lost in capturing shadow and colours. I drew this in my sketchbook, a little bit at a time, using fineliner pens.

You can check out more about Chethana V. Casiker at:

Artist: Luiz F. C. Serigheli 

Titles: Queer Ecology, f33lt4tt° & 3c°_4mp0.

Queer Ecology, 2023, dimensions: 2m, make up, look and performance. (@luizserigheli – Luiz F. C. Serigheli)

The lecture took place in June, which is internationally recognized as the month for redeem and celebrate LGBTQIAPN+ history. In a country that stands out as one of the most dangerous worldwide, for the LGBTQIAPN+ community, the decision to invite a drag queen to speak about science, diversity, inclusion and alternative perspectives within the field of Ecology was a deliberate choice. Considering different and often marginalized perspectives is becoming increasingly crucial, especially in the realm of science, where the primary goal is to gather information to comprehend the world around us, and with ecology it shouldn’t be different. And what is more inherently diverse and unconventional than nature? That was the goal to portray and discuss with the help of royalty Penelope obscura

Reflecting on this event and lecture resonated with me on a deeply personal level. It allowed me to challenge a highly normative space—academia—in a distinctive manner, blending worlds and theories that I hold dear: ecology, queer studies and art. Penelope obscura is the scientific name of a large bird adorned in black, white, and red feathers native to the Atlantic forest, the biome where I was born, raised, and share an intrinsic connection. It also serves as the name for my drag queen persona, which I use to traverse and examine the world and society in which we exist, reimagining it and striving to make it more inclusive for all living beings.

Title: f33lt4tt°

f33lt4tt°, 2022-2023, 10cm – 15cm, techniques: tattooing and @luizserigheli

The concept behind the illustrations and tattoos is rooted in nature, featuring species that resonate with the individual’s personal journey. Each species, whether bird or plant, holds a personal connection to a specific moment, another person, or a significant emotion that the person wishes to permanently capture on their skin. Some illustrations incorporate my graffiti-style lettering, spelling out significant words. Additionally, certain pieces incorporate touches of red within the composition to make a bold statement, thereby enriching and accentuating the artwork with the vibrant colour of passion.

The entire creation process is a collaborative experience with the individual, aiming to make it a uniquely personal endeavour. Given my deep passion for biology, it naturally manifests in my tattoos, where I integrate species as essential elements tailored to each person. The goal is to blend natural elements with unconventional representations and interventions, such as the sketchy style and graffiti letters. This juxtaposition highlights the inherent contradiction, a prevalent aspect of humanity, and aims to emphasize and encapsulate this amalgamation of emotions in a singular and exquisite manner.

Title: 3c°_4mp0

3c°_4mp0, 2022, 3m x 4m, paint and graffiti. Art by Luiz, photo by Athila Bertoncini.

The idea of the illustration is intrinsic to the environment, from the choice of objects to the organization of the composition. The orchid, the dolphins, the Scarlet ibis, the boat and all the other species in the drawing communicate by transgressing the large black canvas in the background, which is the convergence of the whole. As for the colors, black and white bring antithesis and also engage in this construction of existential questions and conflicts with nature and society. Standing out from this, we have red, which brings the pulse of life and the imminence of death, transcending both other colours and highlighting the latent connection between them.

3c°_4mp0, 2022, 3m x 4m, paint and graffiti. Art by Luiz, photo by Athila Bertoncini.

The art mural was created during an intensive and immersive field course in both terrestrial and aquatic ecology in southern Brazil, involving a class of MSc. and PhD. students along with professors. The elements comprising the entire mural were drawn from pictures taken by everyone during the research days, showcasing the environment and species under study. I elaborated the artwork, and along with assistance from classmates, we crafted it in an open classroom, allowing other classes to appreciate and connect with it. The mural, along with its creation process, truly embodies the concepts of community and connection intrinsic to ecology.

Luiz with fellow students, southern Brazil.

Follow artist Luiz F. C. Serigheli on Instagram and also @luizserigheli.

You can also follow photographer Athila Bertoncini’s work on Instagram @athilapeixe

Artist: Marta Barberis

Titles: Thymbra capitata, Salvia fruticosa & Asphodelus ramosus.

I’m a pollination ecologist and self-taught artist based in Northern Italy. For my illustrations I mainly use watercolours, but I may try linocutting soon. What excites me the most is painting shadows. I like to look at their colour and shape, and in most cases I find them to be the actual protagonists. These are post-fire Mediterranean plant species.

Thymbra capitata
Salvia fruticosa
Asphodelus ramosus

Artist: Stephanie Glendinning

Title: A Microscopic Tapestry

A Microscopic Tapestry, photo by Safia El Amiri

This abstract embroidery is inspired by the intricate structures and patterns seen in microscopic cross-sections of plant stems.  I really enjoyed experimenting with different stitches, textures, and colours to create this piece.    

Check out the webpage of Stephanie Glendinning’s lab group:

Artist: Bethany Bridge

Bethany Bridge’s photographs of wood pastures in Edinburgh & Dumfries 

Some of Britain’s most beautiful trees are to be found on farms, and I’m lucky enough to be studying them as part of my PhD at Scotland’s Rural College and the University of Edinburgh. 

I research how wood pastures – integrating trees and livestock – can contribute to increasing the biodiversity of agricultural land. Spending the last year monitoring birds and bats across farms in Scotland has given me a real appreciation of how valuable these habitats are, and the importance of replacing our ageing trees with the next generation. Talking to farmers who are enthusiastic about nature, and can tell me which tree is the owls’ favourite, gives me real hope in the face of our changing climate. 

Bethany Bridge deploying acoustic sensors in the field

My fieldwork often takes me longer than it should, because I’m too busy taking photographs. I have tried to capture the mesmerising, other-worldly atmosphere of an ancient wood pasture in my paintings, which I paint using a combination of watercolour and gouache. But to truly appreciate their beauty, I’d recommend a visit to one

Watercolour & gouache wood pastures

Follow Bethany Bridge on X @bethbridge6

Thank you to all our artists!

If you would like to see more art, check out our other art galleries:

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