Jana Zimmer

California, USA

Mariposa Lily: Post-Fire/Post-Flood/Post-Virus by Jana Zimmer
16"x16"; digital collage; 2021

Jana Zimmer’s artistic practice includes monotype, collage, assemblage and mixed media on the themes of historical and political responsibility and memory. One of her major themes stems from her rich background in environmental law, in conjunction with residing in the coastal city of Santa Barbara, California, which have given her a uniquely multifaceted perspective of the extreme consequences of climate change. Witnessing the devastating havoc that three separate oil spills from a nearby oil rig have caused to the ocean and its shores, the varying flora and fauna, and her community itself has been an urgent catalyst to Zimmer’s collage making. Her angry frustration at the lack of meaningful change, even as her state is not only still recovering from the oil spills but concurrently being ravaged by wildfires of increasing severity, has caused her to reexamine how she can most effectively channel her personal outrage and despair through her work.

“The slow death of what we know as the beauty of the Earth, through fire, flood, sea level rise, and the mystery of what is to come, what will survive, is my current focus…My struggle…is to reassemble the fragments the world has torn apart in a reconstructed landscape that communicates both my feelings and the subject matter in a way that will provoke interest, and empathy...How to provoke empathy, how to provoke meaningful change in our thought systems, how to communicate the urgency of our dilemma. These remain my challenges…”

In this work, Mariposa Lily: Post-Fire/Post-Flood/Post-Virus, Zimmer began with the foundation of a previous piece centered around an oil rig. In seeking a new aesthetic to provoke a different emotional response in the viewer, however, she replaced the rig with an inverted image of a landscape decimated by wildfire. Altered versions of the Mariposa Lily, an endangered plant endemic to the fire area, became a key element of this piece, some fading into the background of a graffitied wall from Valparaiso, Chile. In central focus amid the looming devastation, captured in a moment of hesitation, is a mythical creature of her own creation: wild, female, and threatened. Through her combination of elements both recognizable and imaginary, surreally abstract yet unmistakable in its foreboding, Zimmer compels the viewer to consider how the natural world is becoming increasingly jeopardized, and all that could be lost as a result.