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History of Ecology Topic in Art

The paper discusses ecological art by researching its history and its development throughout the years. The research recognizes that the art form began during the Neolithic period; however, eco arts prominent promoters emerged in the 1950s and 1960. The main purpose of eco arts is to inform people about the dangers of polluting the environment. To do so, it uses publications, photographs, and videos. To make the information more immersive, different installation styles are utilized. The paper discusses landscape style as one of the installations effectively utilized by eco artists. Furthermore, the research examines innovation and new technology incorporation to enhance art forms.

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Ecology in art is an artistic practice or genre that attempts to vitalize, remediate and preserve the ecology, resources, and life forms of Earth. Pieces of art that offered a ground for ecological movement in art emerged in the middle of the 20th century. Ecology in art has a distinct artistic practice compared to other art forms such as environmental art. The genre includes socially engaged community-based interventions and activists, as well as operational ecological structures-restorations. In other words, the art of video and photography is utilized to express the need for harmonious co-habitation. Additionally, modern and innovative technologies utilize this artistic style to simplify complicated elements. Contemporary eco-artists use various forms such as sounds, installations, and photos to present their inspiring message on different ecological issues.

The basic theory of ecology in art is to warn individuals about the consequences of not protecting the environment. For instance, the book “The Population Bomb” by Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich predicted that overpopulation would cause a worldwide famine (Cucuzzella et al., 2020; Wolek, 2019). At the time of its publication, the book warned the world about overpopulation. Despite these warnings, other people, especially large corporations, did not want to take any action to preserve the environment. Furthermore, these organizations criticized the book for its alarming tone. These companies further described the book as being inaccurate in lacking adequate research before its release. Many years down the line, overpopulation has been an actual environmental issue. Additionally, the book has attained its goal because it cautioned people about the essence of environmental problems. Furthermore, it brought the issue of the human population into the discussion of their future.

The other ecological work of art warns people about the environmental impacts of using chemicals in agriculture. The book by Rachel Carson “Silent Spring” concentrates on the negative impacts of chemical pesticides that were a huge part of the United States agriculture (Cucuzzella et al., 2020; Wolek, 2019). The effect of the book was the beginning of the awareness of the negative impacts of chemical pesticides globally. Through her work, Carson managed to influence the United States decision to create an Environmental Protection Agency (Cucuzzella et al., 2020; Wolek, 2019). These pieces of work confirm the essence of deep ecology, which suggests that every living being is essential regardless of whether they offer value to human beings (Cucuzzella et al., 2020; Wolek, 2019). The publications increased the awareness of environmental issues, and artists began adopting the role of eco-activists.

To understand ecology in art, one has to study its history. Ecological arts examples include landscape photography, landscape painting, and land art (Cucuzzella et al., 2020; Wolek, 2019). Ecological arts have been existing since the Neolithic period; however, their prominence started around the 1950s with such eco-artists as Herbert Bayer (Cucuzzella et al., 2020; Wolek, 2019). Eco-artists continued to produce their pieces of work with Joseph Beuys, in 1962, suggesting the cleanup of a river in Germany (Cucuzzella et al., 2020; Wolek, 2019). The years that followed were characterized by more people being informed through essays and publications. These publications mainly highlighted the negative impacts of no maintaining the environment. Eco-artists ensured that they informed the world concerning the negative impacts of not preserving the environment.

Eco-arts utilize videos and photography to express the need for a harmonious ecosystem. According to Sheren (2020), describe eco arts as representations of the visual aspects of nonhuman lives. In this case, eco arts are essential because they attempt to provide a visual representation of different situations that involve human lives. They primarily focus on the environmental elements that support directly or indirectly, the livelihood of human beings. They are essential in identifying and predicting the quality of life in the future. To do so they have to focus on the surroundings of a person because this is what determines the unforeseen future. Through metallic surfaces, photographs can reflect on the viewer thereby demonstrating some of the important features of the earth man needs to protect (Carroll, 2017). Additionally, Wolek (2019) states that it is difficult to explain to people about their future. In this context, it is important to note that whatever man does now will personally affect them. In other words, the people who stand to lose are the future generation. Since these are expressed as photographs, they can offer a deeper experience via a combination of perceptions.

Videos are important because they are utilized to depict the ecological crisis in the Anthropocene epoch. Through these videos, eco artists can aestheticize the actual nature of polluted rivers. Galhotra’s Manthan exhibitions put a new spin on the five factors that negatively affect the environment (Sheren, 2020). These video representations are essential in demonstrating the negative impact of environmental degradation. They use actual video images of affected regions and show them to people. This helps in informing the public who are then persuaded to take action. As a result, eco arts serve the purpose of preventing harm to the environment, which in turn, helps improve the quality of human life. Modern artists refer to the previous generation’s works and experiment with new forms to articulate eco-messages.

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The method of installation of a piece of art can significantly affect the way the work is viewed. In other situations, if the artist plans the installation in a particular way, it can be part of the piece of art. Famous examples can be Preda Sanc, Muzino, Yamada, and Shiota (Raducanu, 2016). A painting or piece of art can be elevated depending on how the installation is done. Therefore, eco artists are required to be mindful of where they place their paintings (Wolek, 2019). Furthermore, installations help the audience resonate with a particular piece of art. The eco-art may be simple; however, from the way it is placed in an installation, it can appeal more to viewers thereby passing on the message relayed on the painting effectively (Ballard, 2017). Eco artists think about how their work combines to form part of an art gallery. Moving outside from the limited space of a gallery is natural for many eco-artists.

Landscape installations are essential factors when it comes to presenting eco-arts. They are additional designs needed to help the portrait or painting become more immersive and elegant. Such pieces of work have been demonstrated by Niittyvirta and Aho (Meenar & Howell, 2019). Another eco-artist that has demonstrated landscape installation is Artworks by Ando and Bertalan (Raducanu, 2016). These artists utilize different aspects of the gallery to ensure that they showcase both elegant and informative pieces of work. Other eco artists who utilized the landscape installation include Burns’, Mikan and Sogabe Lab’s, Ryōta’s installations (Machotka, 2018). They utilize the landscape method to demonstrate the impact of environmental degradation on human life. To depict different and engaging backgrounds, there was the art form of urban installations (Cucuzzellla, 2021; Cucuzzellla et al., 2020). While many installations have strong deductive power, art performances use to be more engaging.

Modern technology and innovation in ecological art seek to describe the complicated issues about the environment. Over time, eco artists have been adapting to the rapidly changing world. They have incorporated new methods of demonstrating and creating their informational art pieces. For instance, Pelto’s painting incorporates different forms of modern art forms to warn people about the dangers of not conserving the environment (Meenar & Howell, 2019). Popa’s project is another essential piece of art that incorporates modernization into eco arts. Other pieces of art include various means of modernization, which enhances the quality of the piece of art such as the Particle Falls (Cucuzzellla et al., 2020). Currently, there are virtual reality (VR) experiences that enhance the art into a three-dimensional image (Meenar & Howell, 2019). These modern inclusions appear to enhance the eco arts artistic methods. Furthermore, today there is a new form of eco arts that involves sound; however, it has some issues (Gilmurray, 2017). The literature review presents a range of brilliant eco-artists who utilize various imagery forms to create works on environmental issues. The tendencies in eco-art will be described in the Findings.

For a long time now, the eco arts space has been expanding and currently, it has gained popularity in the urban space. Most individuals consider the art informative and utilize these pieces of work to add value to their surroundings. Today, most arts are deductive; however, some artists promote their solutions on harmonious co-living. Within this area of artistic forms, there have been numerous changes seeing these pieces of work transforming from traditionally engaging paintings to scientific artworks. Nevertheless, eco artists should consider supplementing eco paragraphs with similar pieces of work. Research could focus on works providing solutions on harmonious co-living as philosophical pieces of art. Additionally, social performance and new technologies should be investigated as tools to make eco-art more inclusive and popular with the masses.

Even though ecological art is believed to exist during the Neolithic times, major progress started in the 1950s. Initially, they were criticized for having an alarming tone; however, they merely warned people about the negative impact of such elements as climate change and overpopulation. Through the years, this art form developed and adopted new technologies to enhance its message. With the opportunities provided by advancing technologies, new art forms such as sound and VR, are getting more appreciation.


Ballard, S. (2017). New ecological sympathies: Thinking about contemporary art in the age of extinction. Environmental Humanities, 9(2), 255-279. Web.

Carroll, B. (2017). A role for art in ecological thought. Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies 43(1), 145-164. Web.

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Cucuzzella, C. (2021). Making the invisible visible: Eco-art and design against the Anthropocene. Sustainability, 13(7), 3747. Web.

Cucuzzella, C., Chupin, J. P., & Hammond, C. (2020). Eco-didacticism in art and architecture: Design as means for raising awareness. Cities, 102, 102728. Web.

Gilmurray, J. (2017). Ecological sound art: Steps towards a new field. Organized Sound, 22(1), 32. Web.

Machotka, E. (2018). Consuming eco-art: Satoyama at the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2012. In K. J. Cwiertka & E. Machotka (Eds.), Consuming Life in Post-Bubble Japan (pp. 215-236). Amsterdam University Press. Web.

Meenar, M., & Howell, T. (2019). Exploring environmental issues using eco-art. Open Educational Resources, 17. Web.

Raducanu, M. (2016). Eco-art. Romanian Economic and Business Review, 11(4), 39-43. Web.

Sheren, I. (2020). Troubling the waters of neutrality: Eco-art as an identity proposition. Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism, 47(2), 28-34. Web.

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