2012-2013 Consumption and Sustainability

Artist-in-Residence: Patrick Dougherty

For residents of California's Central Valley, the well-being of the natural environment has a direct bearing on their professional and personal lives. The Valley's largely agricultural economy relies on an adequate fresh water supply. Substandard air quality threatens Valley dwellers' respiratory health. Far from isolated, sustainability issues such as these reach beyond the region; for example, as a breadbasket for the nation and world, the success of the Central Valley's agricultural production impacts tables home and abroad. Recognizing the importance of environmental sustainability, the Center for Creativity and the Arts chose Consumption and Sustainability as its 2012-2013 theme.

More than just scientific and political, discussions related to sustainability—particularly those involving consumption—include culture. Contemporary society defines an individual's lifestyle not only by his or her role in production (i.e., occupation) but also patterns of consumption: which goods and services a person purchases, how much and how often someone purchases them, etc. These individual choices create and reflect trends, and consumer trends in turn have a large bearing on the relationship between humans and the natural environment. 

Jonathan Brilliant

to-go coffee culture

Artist Jonathan Brilliant, creates large, site-specific sculptures based on what he calls the "to-go coffee culture." Brilliant weaves massive structures out of 30,000-50,000 coffee stir sticks, without any glue. His sculptures, which can also include straws and cup sleeves, are meant to immerse visitors in Brilliant's "sense that the coffee shop and related materials are more organic and nurturing and the 'real' natural environment." Provocatively working in the tradition of artists who create from found natural materials, Brilliant challenges the notion that the natural world is still natural for the modern consumer. Jonathan was in residence at Fresno State September 7-20, 2012 and constructed Woven and Stacked, a unique sculptural work in the Henry Madden Library Ellipse Gallery that remained on view until September 30.

Funding provided by the John and Madeline Perenchio Arts Exhibition Endowmen