In the Time of the Polar Bear, by Penelope Bisbee
West Gallery through November 18, 2016
“It's a tough time to be a polar bear.”
I'm OK You're not OK (XXII)
A September 2015 National Geographic article written by Rachel A. Becker began with those words. “It's a tough time to be a polar bear.” Polar bear habitat is diminishing due to the effects of global climate change. This isn't new thinking. Scientists in the late 19th century proposed that greenhouse gases due to human emissions could change the climate. This body of work addresses the issue of climate change and the how it has posed a threat to polar bears and other living creatures.
As a representational painter, I use images as metaphor. The human figure, whether female or male, is a stand-in for humanity, a stand-in for us, society, citizens of the world. The figure is depicted disconnected or unmoored. It is a disconnection from what makes us human and what connects us to nature and each other. Climate change doesn't recognize national borders and it doesn't discriminate between human and non-human animals. In a larger sense, the disappearance of polar bear habitat is also a disappearance of human habitat. We all live on the same planet.
This planet is providing a life-sustaining home for all its inhabitants. It should be a priority of the inhabitants to maintain it.