Philip Marshall: Natural Selection
Since the mid–20th century, concrete has replaced stone as the artist’s metaphor for enduring strength, and for the human taming and domination of nature. I am exploring the themes of “civilization’s” arrogance and self-justifying social order. Our ability to displace nature and destabilize the world’s ecology is very disturbing. However, I am heartened by nature’s resilience and persistence in re-taking the ground that it loses. One has only to see nature’s overwhelming of artifacts of past civilizations, the re-growth of New England’s forest, the grass on a rural road, or the pure riot of a tropical forest to realize that, despite our seemingly all-powerful efforts to impose everlasting marks on the environment, we are only temporary masters of our world. A frail sapling bursting through concrete to remind us of the temporal limits of our power is perhaps a spark of hope.