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 50 Years/50 Artworks      

Introduction

Quite naturally, artists have always created works that are a direct response to their physical environment. Cave paintings of prehistoric Africa and Europe, pictographs along the shores of Lake Superior, landscape paintings of the 17th - 19th centuries, and contemporary works urging protection of the environment all represent an ongoing need to come to terms with and protect the physical environment. In addition, every culture extracts patterns and designs from nature, applying them to all manner of ceremonial, decorative and useful objects.

Setting up a dialogue through a series of questions can help reveal how artists are attempting to engage us in thinking about the environment. Is a natural or man-made setting featured? Does it depict a certain place, or it is more general? How are humans situated in the scene, if at all? Does the work relate to issues of environmental protection? Is the work a response to science or technology? How do the materials it is made of lend meaning to the artwork?

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