I have long been fascinated by the powerful connection between art and the environment — both define us as a people. Standing in a riverbed deep within the walls of a canyon or at the helm of a boat contemplating the vastness of our oceans, I try to imagine how an artist chooses color and finds form, and I am humbled. The outer world of nature and the interpretive world of art both insist that we transcend our narrow self-interest and see beyond what is right in front of us. Artists seek universal truths and help us form a community that responds to these truths and not to rhetoric or partisanship. The natural world reminds us how we are all connected, not by geography, but by river tributaries and wind patterns and fault lines. We depend on each other and also depend on the stewardship of the natural world. For it provides our lifeblood: clean air and water. Read More
Just like Susan, Mary Oliver has dedicated most of her career to the environment. The American poet and recipient of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize turns towards nature for inspiration and describes the sense of wonder it instills in her. “When it’s over,” she says, “I want to say: all my life / I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” (“When Death Comes” from New and Selected Poems (1992).)
This month, the 77-year old Oliver released her newest book of poetry entitled A Thousand Mornings. In a recent interview with NPR’s Rachel Martin, Oliver says her work has become more spiritual over the years — but she feels a great sorrow over humanity’s lack of care for that world. “The woods that I loved as a child are entirely gone. The woods that I loved as a young adult are gone. The woods that most recently I walked in are not gone, but they’re full of bicycle trails,” she says.
All of the pieces in A Thousand Mornings are lovely, but Susan is particularly drawn to these resonant words: Read More
Susan’s solo exhibition, BREATH OF NATURE, has just opened at London’s Belgravia Gallery. The paintings included in the show mark a turning point in Susan’s artistic vision towards an increasingly abstract—and increasingly urgent yet hopeful — painting style. Perhaps no painting illustrates this change more clearly than the title work Breathless. Read More
As an artist, Susan spent years painting the grandeur and serenity of the natural world. When she became desperately ill with environmentally-bred diseases, Susan saw the fragility of nature. So too for me. As a photographer for National Geographic I was able to catalogue the beauty of our planet for two decades. As a diver for that same period of time, I was able to bear witness to its degradation.
It is from this perspective that I, along with a close group of like-minded activists, formed the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS). Nobody could have predicted the success of our first endeavor, the Academy Awardâ winning film The Cove, but there was never any question of its importance. Susan saw the truth in our story right away, and became a champion of OPS and a supporter of our films. Read More