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Return to: Baile Oakes

Artist Statement


I believe the primary cause of much suffering in our world is our lack of understanding of our place within the living systems of the Earth. Even those of us who profess to be ecologically conscious citizens are still in a state of denial about our own addiction to lifestyles that we intellectually know to be harmful to a healthy, sustainable ecology. We are all having a cultural "out of body experience." We do not understand and therefor do not perceive ourselves to be part of the living "body" of the Earth. I know that art, our visual language, can help to bring people back into an understanding of their place within the living systems of our planet.

My service in life is dedicated to the exploration and discovery of ways to use our visual language to help bring our culture to a fuller understanding of our place within the living systems of the Earth. Madison Avenue has shown us the power of art and design to transform needs, wants and belief systems. Icons are very powerful and it is well past time that we dedicate the design of our public spaces into spaces that speak to us of our interrelationship with the natural world. However, public design reflects public beliefs, we have a chicken and egg situation here. What I have found is that slowly but surely images and design are moving into the public dialogue with Nature as the people in the position of commissioning public works begin to understand and appreciate the need to transform our built environment into one that is more in balance with a healthy ecosystem.

My service is predicated on my belief that the developed world is in the midst of a life-threatening crisis. A crisis originating from the fact that we view ourselves and our technology as entities separate from the Earth and its life systems. We destroy other life forms and natural systems because of our unwillingness or inability to see them as our very selves. Visual arts and design have always played a vital role in helping to convey the dreams and aspirations of civilizations. Since we currently view ourselves as entities separate from the Earth and its life systems, it follows that most of the infrastructure we design and build to support ourselves removes us from a relationship with the Earth.

I aspire to have my work in the field of public art demonstrate ways to begin to reverse the trend by incorporating into our infrastructure ever-present reminders of our vital relationship within the living systems of our planet. With my earlier work I strove to create forms that would evoke the sense of balance and growth that is inherent in the natural world. My hope was that these works would help bring to the viewer a sense of the dynamic balance inherent in Nature that sustains all life. I have always been in awe of what I refer to as the "visual chord"-the visual equivalent of a great acoustic chord evoking a feeling of balance and harmony. Some great works of art and architecture strike this chord within me, bringing a sense of peace to my soul.

My goal was to find this "chord" in my work. I began to feel that abstract efforts to reach people and raise consciousness by using form alone lacked the direct communication that critical situations require. I felt that I needed to bring a more direct sense of dialogue and communication to my work with art. I wanted my work to bring attention to the forces that encompass us, the forces that our lives depend upon.

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