There are quite a few gray areas when it comes to morality in the modern day and age, more so with the rapid development and practical use of advanced technologies. Often coming with a backlash of some sort, many are trying to avert the attention to the moral boundaries being crossed in order to achieve these breakthroughs, as well as the environmental issues caused as a consequence. The freedom of art provides a perfect medium to portray these concerns and Kirsten Stolle utilizes it completely in her practice. Dealing with many controversies created by the desire for progress within the field of science and technology, Stolle criticizes the contemporary way of creating and doing business on the back of animal and plant life, and depicts the deformed future we are inevitably drifting towards.
Contemporary Issues of Morality
The focus of the artistic practice of Kirsten Stolle could be said to have taken roots back in her days of youth, as she looked to replace the industrialized food source that was promoted in America during the 1990s. With the appearance of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in 1996, the choice of a food source that was presented by technological advancement and discovery brought with it more than a meal dilemma: it presented a question of morality, one that Stolle chose not to ignore. Portraying her investigation of the issue through artistic means, she has developed a practice that not only opens the conversation on the subject and with a wide audience but does so in a visually stunning way that often sends chills down the spine.
It’s been two decades since its appearance, and with the exponential development in the technological field we’re experiencing in the modern era, GMOs broadened to more than just the source of food, as did the narrative in Stolle’s work. Questioning the validity of such production, she had created bodies of work like Poison Control, examining through drawings whether the extensive use of agricultural chemicals is worth the genetically engineered crops that are produced; Intestinal Baggage that portrays the effects of genetically modified bacteria on our inner organs, and many other series showing a nuance of morality in these actions and products that might be darker than gray.
Kirsten Stolle ‘s artistic practice portrays her investigation of many contemporary issues
Concerned with more than just genetic modification, the work of Kirsten Stolle touches upon various subjects that are morally questionable, as well as leaving a lasting impact on the environment and us as a part of it. Using appropriation, distortion, and redaction and a mixture of media in her portrayals including wax, oil, acrylic, graphite, collage, and others, Stolle easily reaches the consciousness of any viewer and forces a wider way of thinking with her work. Her thoughts have taken her to the idea of a future built upon the foundations of the present we live in, and the fruits of those thoughts can, quite literally, be seen in her Anatomy of a Future Forest, depicting the impact of climate change and disturbances in the ecosystem on plant life.
Kirsten Stolle touches upon various subjects that are morally questionable
Visual Examination of Controversies
Tackling the controversies that are sprouting with the development of science and technology, Kirsten Stolle confronts the issues in the relationship between economy and ecology and visually presents the results of her examination. With an artistic practice that has been rewarded and acknowledged on multiple occasions, Stolle uses a variety of materials to depict subjects that are of importance to all of us, portraying them in a manner that can hardly leave any viewer indifferent.
The artist is represented by Nome.
Kirsten Stolle currently lives in Marshall.
Featured image: Kirsten Stolle – Genetic Plume (detail), 2010. All images credit the artist.
All images used for illustrative purposes only.