An Art Ruckus


Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss

Exhibit C: Anthropocene Landscapes

Paintings by Zachary Skinner

On display in No.3 Reading Room’s windows July 8 – August 14, 2021
Second Saturday outdoor event with the artist, 2 – 6 pm, July 10
469 Main St. Beacon, NY 12508

EXTRACTION: Art on the Edge of the Abyss is a multimedia, multi-venue, cross-border art intervention which seeks to provoke societal change by exposing and interrogating the negative social and environmental consequences of industrialized natural resource extraction. A global coalition of artists and creators committed to shining a light on all forms of extractive industry—from mining and drilling to the reckless plundering and exploitation of fresh water, fertile soil, timber, marine life, and innumerable other resources across the globe— the Extraction Project will culminate in a constellation of nearly fifty overlapping exhibitions, performances, installations, site-specific work, land art, street art, publications, poetry readings, and cross-media events throughout 2021 and beyond.

No.3 Reading Room & Photo Book Works is participating as a venue in this “ruckus” by presenting projects by several artists working to shine this light through photography, printmaking, publications, installation, video and painting throughout summer and fall, 2021. For the month of July into August, re-scaled reproductions of Zachary Skinner’s original paintings will be on display in the reading room’s storefront windows as an outdoor exhibit. Of this work, Skinner says:

I attempt to represent human encounters with a damaged post-industrial landscape. The imagery draws from scientific realities about our present-day environment and impending threats to our existence on Earth. My primary concerns are the need to confront climate change, the polluting of our land, resource wars, and the displacement of disenfranchised peoples and whole ecosystems in the name of progress. My work illustrates that, when confronting these realities, the path to a sustainable future lies within our shared inner strength and creativity.

My paintings reflect my conceptual interest in the Anthropocene landscape and geo-engineering. Some recurring motifs in my work are invented structures that interact with sunlight, wind, and/or rainwater, as well as inhabited nomadic huts, all situated within a barren landscape. Along with portraying these structures, my work tells a narrative of the increasingly violent weather of climate change, and the technological sublime, to reflect on the dangerously dysfunctional interdependence of man and nature. I create paintings that flow freely between authenticity and parody, fetishized forms and flatness, the Romantic sublime and post-apocalypse, invention and destruction. -ZS

Also on view on Second Saturday only, original intaglio and relief prints from this series.

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About his work in printmaking, Skinner states:

Printmaking challenges me to instill precision and clarity onto the most fleeting, inexpressible aspect of my landscapes: changes in atmosphere, climate, and violence to the land. The inconsistencies I cause to the plate: scratches, slips, imperfections, give life to the landscape. My faults in the process of manipulating the ink, and the unique surfaces of each piece of paper breathe a bit of chaos, dust, and air into the land. 

Representing human encounters with a damaged post-industrial landscape, this body of work draws from concrete realities about our present day earth. Murray Bookchin writes about a split that happened between the Human and Nature, via the transition from Nomadic Life, into Societal Life. Could our environmentally destructive legacy of Pollution, Nature-domination, Environmental-Colonialism, and Neo-Liberalism have been avoidable? How might a person in this alternate timeline survive, and relate to the land?  I imagine this parallel story, where engineering, and surviving the harsh elements, is in the hands of a wandering nomad. Although the human figure isn’t present, we see life scenarios through inhabited spaces, and simplistic technologies to interact with the elements. Some mechanisms generate wind-power, hydro-power, or solar, and some are shelters with a duel function of collecting rainwater for plants and drinking. In the structures’ precariousness, and sometimes futility, they reflect on the fragile relationship between humanity and nature.

Printmaking is an inherently democratic medium. It makes sense that if art is meant to inspire change in this world, it needs to be accessible. Ideally, the economics of art could be for the greater good, but also sustainable for the artists and cultural institutions we love.

To that end, for each print purchased, a percentage goes to Earthjustice, a nonprofit fighting to protect the Earth in the courts. Chances are, if you support another environmental cause (for example the Sierra Club, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, or the Humane Society U.S.), Earthjustice is representing them in courts thanks to the contributions of eco-conscious donors. As a special initiative, in conjunction with Extraction, Photo Book Works and I will donate 20% of proceeds from the prints to Earthjustice, these prints will be available through August 9th. Prints may also be purchased by contacting