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Broken Earth: Erosion / Jonathan Sharlin

Broken Earth: Erosion / Jonathan Sharlin

Size: 60" x 24" 

Medium: Photograph


This artwork shows erosion along the banks of the Sakonnet River. As water levels rise, the river banks disintegrate and expose tree roots, which threatens the plants supporting a whole ecosystem. Things die, decay and decompose. It is the natural progression of life. If, in the past, large masses of earth moved at a glacial pace, now the glaciers themselves are melting before our eyes. Hillsides are falling into the ocean, and winters are becoming unnaturally mild. Rising water levels are drowning saplings, coastal homes are in peril, and forest fires are causing greater damage than ever before. 


In Judaism, there is a concept called Tikkun Olam. It is an aspiration to behave and act constructively and beneficially—to repair the world. Broken Earth: Erosion stretches out time, compresses space and changes the balance. At its heart is the inherent contradictions of aestheticizing a place of battered beauty. Is there room for optimism? The possibility of repair, a course correction? 

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