Art Studio

Mapping a Changing World


“Tibet is the High Ground” one of the pieces on display at the Sesnon Gallery. Courtesy of

By Kirby Scudder

Artists Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison have been pioneers in the eco-art movement since the early 1970s. Both are professors-in-residence at UCSC with the Digital Arts and New Media graduate program . For the past 40 years the Harrisons have worked closely with biologists, ecologists, architects, urban planners and other artists to initiate dialogues and present solutions which support biodiversity and community development.

Mark Shunney co-curated the exhibit “The Harrison Studio: On Mixing, Mapping and Territory.” The exhibit runs through March 15 at the Sesnon Gallery on the UCSC campus and opens this Wednesday at 6pm. The exhibit includes a series of large maps of Tibet and the European Peninsula and it’s water ways as well as images from their limited edition book The Seventh Lagoon. The show presents their artistic process with a focus on global warming.

The Seventh Lagoon series started by the Harrisons in 1974 and completed in 1984 examines the lagoon cycle. This is the second of the Harrison’s works on the effects of global warming from which future works develop. This series explores a 30 year old prophesy on the rising of oceans.

On one wall is a series of large drawings and paintings of the body of water that makes up the Salton Sea. Each image has a series of writings by Helen Mayer Harrison on top.

Video courtesy of Artists on Art / Nada Miljkovic:

Artists Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison’s work displays a combination of traits of historian, diplomat, ecologist, investigator, and arts activist. Their work proposes solutions based on their extensive real world studies of the changing environment.

If you would like more information on the Harrison Studio go to

Opening: Wed. Feb. 6, 6-7:30 p.m. Show runs through March 15th.
Also upcoming: First Friday, March 1 @ 2pm:  artists and curators discuss work in gallery

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