Contemporary art refers to modern day art. Mostly art that has come about by imitation of real nature since the era of cave paintings when early man used to draw inspiration from wild animals, trees, water bodies, and fellow humans. …
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Since the beginning of time, nature always takes part and affects the way humans express themselves, and from its inspiration, nature becomes part of our culture and personal identity1. This trend of inspiration continues to survive and generation passes it onto the next generation where it gets improvement, or rather alteration, further distancing it from nature. Natural forests are disappearing, man no longer lives in the jungle, water masses are drying up, pure air is diminishing, wildlife getting extinct, and this authentic of world are being represented in a very new way2. Different regions of the world have embarked on trying to resurrect that diminishing era, which due to its rareness is of great value where found. Nature-man interdependence is at a risk due to the conflict brought by man as he sidelines nature in quest for his own gains, a gap that is widening with the day 3. The environment plays a great role in inspiring contemporary artists. Artists use or include elements of the environment such as naturally occurring stone or wood in coming up with pieces. For instance, Andy Goldsworthy, a famous environmental artist mostly uses ice, vegetation, or snow to create ephemeral artworks such as the Midsummer Snowball project in which large snowballs amounting to thirteen decorated the streets in 2001. Since it was summer, their melting held surprises inside; wool from sheep, pine seeds and berries, rarely seen elements in London streets4. Another artist, Rivane Neuenschwander, draws her inspiration from scenes in her homeland in Brazil where torrential rains mark its wet season and the people align to it. She has a work, Chove Chuva of 2002, where buckets with holes and containing water hang in mid-air letting the water drip into buckets below. This she uses to represent the rains. Sunlight as nature puts it literally dulls and fades color exposed to it- a situation one describes as destruction. However, sculptor Tonico Lemos Auad from Brazil did a piece (Sunset Seven Seas) in 2007 where he exposes colored card to sunlight and lets part of it fade. The sunlight’s effect, in addition to helping him achieve his piece largely corresponds to his theme. In addition to nature’s role in helping him achieve the Sunset Seven Seas, Tonico directly collaborates with nature when he uses bananas to come up with unique pieces. He gets yellow ripe bananas and makes outlines on them using sharp pins. As the dented pores rot out resulting in black colored spots, they create illusions on the banana skins as per the outlines drawn. During live performances, the feeling of reality comes to life by use of backdrops with representations of real scenes painted or printed on them. For instance, when a play entails war, the backdrops usually have scenes like destroyed buildings, billows of smoke or military equipment. This engages the audience more; giving them the near reality of what a war scene looks and feels like. On the same, playing music or applying corresponding sound effects during the performance further brings the audience closer to the real events that occur there. Contemporary artists employ nature in achieving more sensational, realistic art that one can experience being within. Naturally occurring trees, water masses, and stones do not give the impression art to most people. However, some artists bring together naturally occurring elements such as vegetation and stones to create visually appealing scenarios. A good example is Robert Irwin’s maze garden in Getty Center that is a combination of stones, trees, and water that form a maze where visitors can ‘experience’ art. They can touch the elements and experience touchable art, the vegetation has color that appeals to the eye, and the flowers give off
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