Visual Arts

In a startling variety of ways, contemporary artists are exploring the relationship that our species has to its planet. We have aggregated some of this very intriguing work below. If you have suggestions for works to add to the gallery, please contact us.

Works can also be viewed in portfolio view.

2014-15 Curator: Julia Olson

Artist Wolf Buttress has created a sculptural installation that looks like a giant dandelion wafting in the breeze. Titled Lucent, this larger-than-life orb is suspended above a darkened, reflecting pool that mirrors the brilliant illuminated tips, doubling its stunning presence. The installation’s name, derived from the Latin “to shine,” and its 3,115 hand-blown glass spheres represent stars on a map that are visible to the naked eye from the Northern hemisphere. To fully realize this sublime, suspended sculpture, Buttress affixed fiber optic cables to each orb, producing the piece’s diffused glow. Additionally, he ensured its spatial accuracy by working with astrophysicist Dr. Daniel Bayliss of Australian National University. Buttress also uses the reflective aspect of the piece as more than a visually appealing element, it is a conceptually integral part of Lucent. Its mirroring on the water suggests the Southern hemisphere, and implies a sense of infinity at the same time. (source).



They say you can’t control the weather—but for Berndnaut Smilde, that’s exactly his life’s work. The Dutch artist is known for his “Nimbus” series, in which he creates perfect, fluffy clouds in unique indoor spaces: churches, castles, dungeons, and most recently, in honor of Frieze New York, NeueHouse on 25th Street. The only lasting memory of his series is singular photograph—the perfect picture of the cloud in that space—which Smilde and his team work endlessly to capture.

He loved the duality of bringing something outdoor, indoor, as well as the duality of clouds themselves. “They can, for example, stand for the divine but also for something threatening or misfortunate,” he said. “Clouds are something really universal. Something that people give meaning to.” (source).



Husband and wife team Paul Roden and Valerie Lueth are the artistic minds behind Tugboat Printshop. Established in 2006, the two employ the traditional process of printmaking to create high quality and affordable contemporary pieces. Through their work, the talented pair strive to keep the art of printmaking alive, fostering public appreciation and interest in the traditional process. After three years of meticulous drawing, carving, and printing, their original colour woodblock print Outlook has finally been unveiled.

Outlook is a dizzyingly detailed 46″ x 30″ landscape carving depicting rolling hills, sweeping fields, pine-dotted mountain ranges, and lush forests.  Through the use of traditional art production processes, Tugboat Printshop can reveal how mass communication once distributed a simple message through complex mechanisms. (source).



Desginer John Edmark’s 3D-printed Fibonacci zoetrope sculptures come alive as they spin beneath a strobe. Every time they turn 137.5º–a number known as the golden angle– a synced flash of light creates the apparent motion of an infinitely spiraling structure.

“If change is the only constant in nature, it is written in the language of geometry,” Edmark writes in his artist’s statement. Inspired by the same mathematics found in nature, such as the shapes of pinecones and sunflowers, Edmark created these works. (source).



On a quiet island in Norway, a cavernous structure protruding out of permafrost holds over 770,000 seeds of plants from all over  the globe in case of a sudden “doomsday” scenario or plant-pocalypse. This is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the spark for artist Kaitlyn Schwalje’s macrophotography project, Seeds Under Microscope.

“I work on the premise that a single captivating image can be enough to make an otherwise inaccessible and dense topic exciting. It’s a form of packaging,” explains Schwalje, whose background is in physics and designs. “Behind the image of  a seed is a rich and timeless story about agricultural futures and climate change; a story spanning continents and centuries. Any level of investigation uncovers new knowledge.” (source).