Christine Neill, Artist Essay
My work chronicles the ephemeral states of the natural world in layered
mixed-media paintings. By combining the immediacy of fluid paint mediums with digital processes, I interpret a lifelong fascination of biology and the environment. Through observation of biotic phenomena
I note intersections where environmental and anthropological worlds meet. The effects of environmental changes and invasive species on human life, and the reaction of earth’s habitat to these threats, underlie my investigations and images.
My practice typically involves scrutinizing the landscape for organic matter that suggests human activity or natural events. I then line my studio with the collected specimens, which I research while making a series of drawn studies. Drawings and watercolors are created and, subsequently, segments of digital photos are printed onto the handwork and over painted until all surfaces have a coating of watercolor. As the layers coalesce, they depart from observation in favor of interpretative expression of an observed object. Additionally, line drawings are often printed on the framing Plexiglas and separated from the ground by spacers, allowing shadows from the foreground to fall onto the painted and printed surface below. In other works, I employ a laser cutter to incise holes in the paper, representing ruptures in imperiled species.
As an artist, I feel compelled to visualize the damaged condition of our environment as I’ve observed and researched. I’m aware how cultures, especially marginalized communities, are inequitably impacted by these perils. This work celebrates the intricacies of thriving ecosystems yet laments threatened species. Such dichotomies, in nature as in art, bind us together as living entities in, on, and of the earth.