“My art is inspired by the multitude of social justice movements that recognize climate change as a major barrier to racial and economic equity in the U.S. and abroad.” Jenny Blazing
It is a testament to the severity of climate change that in recent years, the impacts of this crisis have shifted from looming hypothetical to stark reality. Blazing, a California native who moved to North Carolina in the 1990s, has watched with horror over the past decade as family and friends in her home state face the intensifying effects of climate change. Severe drought has fueled wildfires that claimed a family home and generated severe air pollution, exacerbating health issues. Her art is inspired by her family’s experiences, but even more so by those who are disproportionately impacted because they lack protections such as insurance, health care, or homes that help insulate them from toxic air.
Blazing’s AnthropoceneScape paintings fuse past, present, and future eras into imaginary worlds to emphasize our inevitable and potentially irreversible effect on the planet and its most vulnerable inhabitants. At first glance, these paintings resemble captivating cityscapes perhaps gone a bit awry. But these atypical vistas contain a message that begins to reveal itself upon closer examination. There is an aspect of urgency to these worlds. Debris and crumbling elements resembling ruins from antiquity are interspersed with gleaming, modern imagery all condensed into a single work as if they are “time-lapse paintings.” The skies are infused with dripping and texture that suggest that weather no longer exists in its predictable form. What does all of this mean? Who will be swept up in the storm? Can we continue to accelerate our consumption of our planet’s resources while ignoring the disproportionate costs?
Blazing’s story has been featured in Artists and Climate Change, an online platform and network amplifying the work of artists who engage with the climate crisis.