ENCROACHMENT —  The third movement in the exhibition: Within The Waves, A work in Four Movements

What the Encroachment series is about: These artworks depict human encroachment into formerly natural lands and waters represented by the green and blue areas. Agriculture, transportation, housing, extraction industries, businesses, and our waste products all have an ever-expanding footprint, fragmenting and degrading ecosystems. Each image is titled with the estimated human population at the time it was created. Scientists estimate that if everyone on Earth could achieve a European standard of living, the planet could only sustain around 2 billion. The 6 billion difference is called overshoot. When populations overshoot the carrying capacity of their environment, they degrade its ability to support life, eventually depleting life-sustaining resources or creating so much toxic waste that the population crashes. The direct human consequences are already horrific, with climate refugees, wars, famine, water shortages, extreme poverty, and degradation of everyone’s quality of life all exacerbated by overpopulation.

The ramifications of human overshoot affect not only humans, but all life: climate change, habitat loss, ocean acidification, and species extinctions are all happening at an alarming pace. According to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Report 2022, monitored populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish saw a 69% drop on average between 1970 and 2022.  During that same time, the human population doubled. The United Nations estimates that due to human activity, 72 species go extinct every day, a rate 1,000 to 10,000 times the natural rate of extinction, in what is now recognized as the sixth mass extinction event in world history.  To learn more about each individual’s impacts on the planet, go to: https://www.footprintnetwork.org/ To learn more about human population trends, go to:  Worldometers.

How these images were made: Utilizing AI enlarging and sharpening software, these images were created by highly magnifying portions of photographs made for the series Light Waves—Abstract Photographs of Reflections from Lake Superior. The original photos of waves often went through 15-20 generations of cropping and enlarging, using different settings, to develop the desired effects.

The images shown below are one master image titled: 8,091,826,881 and 9 panels used to display it in a large size. 

Encroachment, along with Light Waves, Dream Waves, and Lamentations will be shown at a solo exhibition at Joseph Nease Gallery, 25 W. 1st Street, Duluth, MN, July 26 through September 28, 2024. Opening reception August 8 from 5-7 with an artist talk at 5:30. Sizes and prices have not yet been determined. If you are interested in a print from this series, please call the gallery at 218-485-0478.