“Second Nature,” Ecotopia, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, ON Canada, 2013
Ecotopia explores environmental conservation, destruction and the discordant combination of architecture and decay in our technological age.4 Very simply, this exhibition is about the confluence of nature and human intervention that has both glorious and profoundly dispiriting qualities. These seemingly contradictory elements are captured in the title of this exhibition, for the word “ecotopia” can be either utopian or dystopian, where a vision for a world is either ideal or nightmarish.5 These jarring notions are brought into conversation in the work of twelve artists who offer alternatives for postmodern living that enable a harmonious coexistence of nature and technology rather than environmental havoc. The artists also ponder the expressionistic grandeur of nature, and how this has become suffocated and overladen with layers of city debris and decaying architecture. Visitors will come across sculptures, paintings, works on paper and video installations that address various aspects of history, technology, geography, Canadian national identity, politics, urbanization and ecology. The artists approach the natural and built environment with anxiety, humour, irony, amazement and terror.