I have written about Inverloch artist Ray Dahlstrom’s work before. For the last 10 years this work has highlighted the problems of climate change, acid oceans and other aspects associated with mankind’s burning of fossil fuels. The different series are progressively entitled ‘Black Saturday’ (Ray’s family were burnt out at Steeles Creek in 2009), ‘Your Carbon Footprint’, ‘Acid Ocean’ and recently Ray has embarked on a ‘Climate Change’ series, an example of which is the image above.
The works vary from landscape style to abstract. The ‘Black Saturday’ paintings tend to the former whilst the new series can be described as abstract. The ‘acid ocean’ paintings are semi-abstract. They depict the skeletons of dead fish being replaced by jellyfish in a dark, sombre range of blue green colours. This series was part of his show entitled ‘Jellyfish and Chips’ held in Prahran a few years ago, and culminates in his painting ‘Mendusozoa Mayhem’ where the sea is depicted as crowded with a horrible swarm of jellyfish. Whilst some aspects of the series may not be scientifically accurate they certainly convey the mood of a dark future for us if we continue the era of fossil fuels for much longer.
The ‘Carbon Footprint’ series generally have images of symbolic burning or burnt leaf embers, outlines of footprints or a mixture of both. I have a Dahlstrom original from this series on my lounge room wall on which Ray has inscribed “your responsibility, your carbon footprint”. The almost obligatory footprint outlines are there, with an added touch of carbon with charcoal being added in parts, on a colour background suggestive of fire and smoke.
His website promotion states that “In recent times, Ray’s work has been affected by the dramatic influences of climate change on the environment.” Ray notes: “My art should have something to say about the effect of climate change on the environment. It’s OK to create pretty pictures, but it’s more important to me now to get people thinking about the big issues which affect all of our futures.” For his full story go here. For a slide show of selected paintings go here.
It is pleasing that one of the four completed works in the new series has already sold. The other pieces ‘Antarctic Melting’, ‘Red Dust Rising’ and ‘Capricorn Burning’ are all in a similar style. More power to his brush and progress in his task to get us thinking about the biggest issue mankind has ever faced.