ARTIST FOR THE AMAZON
The Amazon territory is home of the largest rainforests on earth, a tremendous diversity of species, and hundreds of indigenous cultures. All of these inhabitant, plants, invertebrates, animals, are threatened by rampant and extreme deforestation practices. They are far more valuable to the global culture and health of the planet than the fleeting material pittance that comes from their destruction. I believe that this unique web of flora and fauna, indigenous cultures, and ecological processes are worthy of existence and protection. I support the Amazon Aid Foundation’s efforts to do this, acre by acre.
Much ecological degradation occurs at the edges of human awareness. Every hour, species quietly go extinct, wetlands, slowly disappear, and air subtly warms. Humans are deeply connected to these shifts, yet a false sense of remoteness pervades. I find a mutual resonance among all life forms, and through my work I explore the biotic realities of this planet that bind separate, repulse, and compel us. As an artist and conservation biologist, I engage with elements of ecological systems to investigate the complex and sometimes paradoxical relationships between humans and other living organisms.
My work addresses threats to nature that disrupt the patterns necessary for biodiversity to persist, such as habitat fragmentation and pollution. Field research is integral to my paintings, photographs, texts, and site installations. Informed through direct immersion, I document and mitigate the impacts of human constructs–perceived and concrete–on the environment and its inhabitants. I believe that integrated efforts are necessary to conserve wild places and organisms. Art is a potent means of observing, representing, and interpreting the surrounding world, and a powerful means of exposing and isolating particular qualities of a subject. As such, it has potential to effectively raise awareness and galvanize cultural attention. Effective conservation may require a clearer connection to and understanding of human identities, emotions, attitudes and values and how these attributes relate to concepts of the human place in nature. By joining the arts and sciences, a more resonant language of conservation possibilities may appear.
About Hara Woltz
Hara Woltz is an artist and scientist who addresses the destruction and conservation of ecological systems through a variety of visual media. Field research is integral to the creation of her work, and her solo and collaborative projects investigate the relationships between humans, the environment, and other living organisms. Her art works reside in a number of private and corporate collections, and she has exhibited in spaces ranging from Sotheby’s to Storm King Art Center. Woltz has worked on a number of global ecological and habitat design projects, including habitat restoration for native species in New Zealand, giant tortoise and Waved Albatross habitat assessment and restoration in Galápagos, Ecuador, and biological and cultural resilience programs in Solomon Islands, Melanesia.
Her work has appeared in various publications, including ORION, Biological Conservation, Popular Science, New York Magazine, and Landscape Architecture Magazine. She has created illustrated field guides for private clients and institutions, including Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, NY. As an undergraduate, she studied studio art and biology at Duke University. She has an MA in landscape architecture from the University of Virginia, and an MA in conservation biology from Columbia University. Past awards include an American Museum of Natural History fellowship, an ASLA award of honor, a Columbia departmental research award, and an artist residency at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.
She consults as a visiting artist and scientist at the American Museum of Natural History, and has a studio in New York City.