Margaret White

East Carolina University
Master of Fine Arts

by | May 20, 2019 | Graduate 2019

Artist’s Statement
Art, especially comics, editorial cartoons, and science fiction reflects our socio-political structures while imagining new ways to exist; this is my goal in making artwork regarding climate change.

​I am intrigued by the tension in scientific and political debates and the collision of contemporary issues and traditional values regarding environmentalism: specifically, protecting humans versus preserving nature and the mitigation and adaptation debate. Scientists diverge on whether mitigation or adaptation is the most appropriate response to climate change. Proponents of mitigation seek to reduce anthropogenic impacts on the Earth’s climate; adaptation, rather, attempts to respond to climate-related damages that do occur. Environmentalism and conservation go hand in hand, but climate change is a world issue that affects us on global and personal levels through economic and social challenges.

Organizing image hierarchy via layering, selective coloring, and the manipulation of visual perspective highlights the different aspects of climate change and the multiple literal perspectives needed to tackle it. In this way, the art acts as a framing device for the scientific and political issues. My work expresses a narrative quality and contains vivid colors inspired by a love of comic books, sci-fi and political cartoons.

There is no returning to the pre-human version of nature. Research shows that has not existed for tens of thousands of years.[1] But we can make progress in how we practice environmentalism, economics and politics, and art. Through art, I am attempting to push our approach to science and nature to be more expansive and socially oriented.

My work is inspired by the IPCC Special Report 2018:

and the Green New Deal:


[1] Boivin, Nicole L, et al. Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions. Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences of the United States of America. 2016.