Local environmental artist Ann Rosenthal creates two prints inspired by the research of Mason Heberling, Assistant Curator of Botany at Carnegie Museum of Natural History during this quarantine art and science collaboration.
Ann Rosenthal is an environmental artist and educator who examines the intersections of nature and culture through timely issues, including climate change, biodiversity, and biophilia. In 2019, she co-curated “Crafting Conversations: A Call and Response to Our Changing Climate” for Creatives for Climate through Contemporary Craft’s BNY Mellon Satellite Gallery in Pittsburgh. She is currently one of four editors for a field guide on ecoart practices on behalf of an international network of ecoartists.
“I am interested in the relationships within and between the human and natural worlds. In this unprecedented time, we can see systems and relationships more clearly; for example, how just a few weeks of staying at home has cleared our air and water,” says Ann Rosenthal. “I am fascinated by the research CMNH botanist Mason Heberling is conducting in forests around Pittsburgh, including at Beechwood Farms. He and collaborators from the University of Pittsburgh and Boston University are studying how climate change is driving the early leaf-out of the tree canopy and how that, in turn, impacts what grows and lives in the understory.
“My monoprint is inspired by those relationships: the red maple and red oak spring leaves suggest the tree canopy under which a hooded warbler perches on a spicebush branch. All of these species can be seen at Beechwood. The trees depicted are part of Heberling’s current and past research, and Thoreau studied their leaf-out in the 1850s. Researchers can thus compare Thoreau’s findings with their own. I hope my print will prompt readers to pause and consider the invisible threads that bind us to one another and to nature.” As Thoreau counseled, “Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself?”
See more of Ann’s work at locusartstudio.org.
Ann Rosenthal is an environmental artist. Asia Ward is an Anthropocene Science Communication Fellow at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Museum employees are encouraged to blog about their unique experiences working at the museum.