I am an environmental artist. My work celebrates the beauty of what remains on our shores, under our oceans, and in our forests. Working with water media to evoke the gorgeous textures and deep, mysterious forces of our planet, I have developed innovative techniques that recreate the flows and fissures of the natural world: ocean currents, shifting sands, volcanic mountains. My series of dunescapes and underwater landscapes are odes to the glories of the natural world, while hinting at our fragile future. The work speaks to the tension between the seemingly eternal forces of nature and the human behavior that threatens to destroy them.
Thirty-five summers on Cape Cod, including a residency at a historic Provincelands dune shack, have provided me with a deep and visceral appreciation for the ocean, a connection enhanced by winters of deep sea diving in the Caribbean. To evoke the flow of ocean currents, I experiment with pouring, spraying, brushing and sponging watercolor paints on and off polypropylene (Yupo). This silky material resists rather than absorbs the watercolors, resulting in unusual texturing that has been compared to ceramic glazing. I have also developed a process to make monotypes from these watercolor paintings: once the paint has dried, I run the Yupo through an etching press onto dampened cotton rag paper. This process produces velvety textures that evoke otherworldly forms found under and near the sea.
My process also includes experimenting with the historic technique of decalcomania, invented by eighteenth-century ceramicists in Europe, and adapted by twentieth-century Surrealist artists. It involves creating a surface tension between two materials, which produces random patterning, often fractals, that have an uncannily organic feel. These materials and processes, which I guide but do not control, allow me to participate in the spontaneity and unpredictability of nature.
- Ginny Zanger