Part I: Tom Lieber, Organic Food & GMO’s, An Artist’s Perspective
“I lived on Kauai from 2002-2011 and began to split my time between L.A. and Hawaii in 2011. The Hawaiian life has had a strong effect on my paintings……i.e. the energy and the way the vines grow, the jungle tangles. And, so, organic gardening became a big part of my life while on Kauai. Things grow like crazy there.

As I lived there, I noticed that each year the bio-chemical companies crops were taking more and more land with their ‘perfect’ GMO/PESTICIDE riddled crops and that ROUND-UP was being sprayed more and more along the roads instead of mowing along the roadsides. Many people on the island were feeling the same oppression. Residents on the westside of the island were getting the worst of it. Schools were getting hit by clouds of overspray. People were getting sick (many still are).

Through many people’s efforts Bill 2491 was written and passed. Bill 2491 makes all the bio-ag companies report and limit their spraying of pesticides and creates boundaries between the GMO fields and populated areas. It also calls for an EPA report on the effects of the spraying on the air, the rivers, the reefs, and the people.

I am in the process, along with Mel Bell-Grey, of creating a documentary about Ron Finley visiting Kauai and all of the positive and negative realities he (and all of us) witnessed during his stay. I curated an exhibition for Galerie 103 on the south side of Kauai, that artists donated works for and the profits went to five organizations that educate and take action concerning organic life and opposition to GMOs. I also organized a dinner/mini concert at Common Ground (an organic farm and restaurant) with Jackson Browne, Donavon Frankenreiter, Mike Cambell and Graham Nash that also benefited the same organizations. Money was made, but the greatest thing that occurred was connections that people made at the dinner. Three Pentagon lawyers attended as well as local council members and a sprinkling of celebrities…..Bette Midler, Julia Roberts, among others, exchanged ideas and contact information. Connections that will ripple on and on.”

Tom Lieber (born 1949 Saint Louis, MO –) is an abstract painter and printmaker. Lieber’s large-scale abstractions are notable for their bold, natural colors and fluid marks placed against a layered, neutral background. Informed by nature and meditations, Lieber’s work reflects his efforts to channel his interior life onto the canvas.

Lieber’s use of gesture stems from post WWII abstract painting. His subtle color and tonal variations and marks reveal an affinity to the unique and painterly specificity of Georgio Morandi, Alberto Giacometti, Philip Guston and Joan Mitchel. The early canvases from the 1970s consist of expansive, monochromatic color zones that, over time, take on increasingly explicit and more painterly gestures. Lieber’s later work represents a more physical and powerful approach. Oftentimes, a single brushstroke or gesture anchors the painting, allowing the underlying color fields and tonal variations to recede and advance across the ground.

Lieber uses a variety of techniques to achieve his effects, most notably monotype printing rollers. By interposing a mechanical device into an intuitive act, he arrives at a form of deep expression that is unforced, in which the paint becomes raw and direct. Lieber believes that the human body is more equipped than the mind to invent. He treats the act of painting as a full-body experience, open to unpredictable and challenging imagery.

Tom Lieber is a recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Grant and has exhibited extensively since 1974. His work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Tate Gallery, London among others.

Those familiar with Lieber’s past work will recognize his calligraphic mark-making, the supple flow and arc of his line, and the dynamic rhythm of his abstract compositions. In these new paintings, however, the dense, dark paint prominent in work of the 1980s and ‘90s has given way to a lighter, more buoyant, palette which is thinly applied to a stripped surface.
The strong horizon line of the Hawaiian landscape and the elegant shapes of the tropical leaves and flowers Lieber sees from his windows have sent his work in new and enticing directions.

Part II: Lee Hall, Animals, Environment & the Law
Lee Hall, an author who’s taken on subjects from anti-terrorism law to vegan cooking, wrote the “Vegetarianism” entry in the Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice. Lee has taught Animal Law and Immigration and Refugee Law, and is today working on a second law degree—a legal masters in Environmental Law with a focus on climate change from Vermont Law School. Lee’s work is a bridge between environmentalism and our personal relationships with agriculture, confronting the way animal farming usurps habitat. For years, animal-rights advocates have operated under the belief that at least pasture-based or organic ranching represents a “step” in the humane direction—but only looking at how domesticated animals seem to be affected. Lee champions the animal communities displaced by farm sprawl, and explains how our chosen cookbooks can offer a genuine humane response for all animals, reduce greenhouse emissions, and even stop extinctions.

 


It’s All About Food
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