Jen Ann Simmons
Forest Floor, Looking Up, Sep 2019
Seafloor, Looking Up, Nov 2019
Volcano Chamber, Looking Up, Jan 2020
Each painting: 4.0 x 8.0 ft, acrylic on canvas
Inspired by the leaderless, often indigenous, climate justice movements worldwide in 2019, Mass Movements demonstrates climate action as a collection of animated agents, with no central hero, looking up, with hope, in defense of the natural world.
The series is arranged so that the viewer, looking at the painting, must imagine looking up, must imagine having hope that humans have the collective will necessary to avert worsening global warming.
The series successively deepens from a forest floor, to a seafloor, to a volcano chamber, to underline the importance of rooting deeply in this moment in earth's history, to imagine new (or rather, ancient) ways to relate and trade that are more regenerative and just.
Individually, the paintings have different concepts, developed alongside major climatic events in late 2019/early 2020:
the rapid deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest (Forest Floor, Looking Up)
rising floodwater in Venice and release of the IPCC special report on the Ocean and Cryosphere (Seafloor, Looking Up),
Australia's ongoing fire disaster and volcanic activity in New Zealand and the Phillipines (Volcano Chamber, Looking Up)
MASS MOVEMENTS *Modified March 2020
Mass Movements series was modified in March 2020 to reflect how the coronavirus crisis, soon followed by Black Lives Matter protests, is mobilizing humanity in an inward-looking way.
From reflecting on basic human needs to questioning values systems to unlearning biases and prejudices, the cultural movements of 2020 have catalyzed surprisingly fast behavioral change.
By arranging the canvas panels in the corner of a room (not flat against one wall), the modification offers a changed perspective and a deeper and more immersive experience.
Suggesting that during times of crises and great cultural changes in consciousness, though we may at times feel trapped in a corner and insignificant in the face of an indifferent virus or deeply ingrained systemic cruelty, there is opportunity for the mobilized masses to shift seemingly immovable systems.
What if - the corner is a portal to a more equitable, inclusive, and biodiverse world?