Marianne Bickett

Oregon, US

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Small Scale Systems: Cellular Panarchy

Oil pastels on canvas
15”x20"

This Art Call refers to Richard Heinberg's Think Resilience online course regarding the issues around climate change, history, present conditions, and possible futures. From Lesson 13 in Part Three: The Basics:
"Resilience is...the ability of a system to absorb disturbances and still retain its basic function and structure." Resilience "starts with what we value." Our ability to be open to new ideas, to trust, and to deepen our connections create a system whereby we are able to adapt and thrive.
Resilience embodies two concepts: 1) The adaptive cycle that involves "resource organization, growth, conservation, and release." 2) Panarchy in which "systems exist at multiple scales of space and time, and interactions across those scales determine what's happening within the system..."

In this image I created for this Art Call, I wanted to depict a component of a very small-scale system, a cell. This is my imaginary cell with some basic attributes of a real cell such as a nucleus, membrane, mitochondria, etc. Millions of years ago, cells began to form communities and specialize because it was to their survival advantage to do so. This enabled them to be much more efficient and resilient. Cells are incredibly adaptable and responsive to our thoughts. As Richard mentioned, resilience starts with what we value. I feel that in order for our society to change, people need to value their individual and community health and well-being. Our cells are listening to our thoughts and we can, at a very basic level, build resilience and change. Thank you!
2022
  • Marianne Bickett

Rethinking: We Can Change Our Minds (And Happy Earth Day fellow Earthlings!)

Recycled drawing paper and graphite pencil
Color added digitally

The current Art call, Culture Change and Neuroscience by Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute, focuses on the fact that "we humans are both selfish and sociable creatures."
While selfish behaviors are deeply embedded into our hardwiring for survival, we learned over time to be cooperative and develop empathy also to survive. The neocortex, that is the "new brain" of mammals, has developed sophisticated mechanisms based on cultural stories. The amazing thing for me is that our brains are completely plastic, they can be changed by changing our thinking! "Neurons that fire together wire together" (Neurologist Donald Hebb) is how we can begin to reshape our habits and forge new relationships based on valuing our natural world. We often are too willing to endanger the future by engaging in greedy ventures that have short term gain. If we can rethink our roots and reconnect to our precious planet and all the intelligent life here, there is hope of real change.
I was inspired by a handsome tree in our son's back yard in Haleiwa, Oahu. This tree is clearly an elder with great wisdom and grace. I felt my mind connecting to its roots and a sense of communication with it. I thank the tree for its inspiration to show that we can change our minds to change our brains to change our minds. Thank you What's Next for Earth.
2022
  • Marianne Bickett

Once Upon A Time

Pencil on paper in journal

A picture tale of two stories.
On one hand, overproduction created tales of riches to make us happy, make life easier, stories about all kinds of things we didn't know we needed! Consumerism became the new religion, hallelujah, more stuff!! Wow! Grow, grow, grow!!! Regardless of the consequences, human greed is at the heart of this sad tale.
On the other hand, there are the ancient stories of the wisdom of trees and living as earthlings on a beautiful, vibrant planet where we rethink our predicament and choose to become a Conserver economy. Life is rich as we rediscover our roots and focus on relationships and experiences. Nature becomes a source, not just a resource to plunder. We sing the songs of beauty and respect for all life on earth.
The change will be difficult, but we create our future right now by the decisions we make today. Which hand wins?
2021
  • Marianne Bickett

Found Object Sculpture


9"x 4" x 3"
Sticks, moss, dried flower, copper wire, used light bulb, thread, burnt embroidery hoop

"...in order to address systemic problems, we need to understand what systems are, and how to intervene most effectively." This is the first chapter of Part 2, Making Change, in Richard Heinberg's Resiliency Program through the @postcarboninstitute. System thinking is not a bandaid approach like "putting chemicals in the Earth's atmosphere to manage solar radiation, rather it is about reducing fossil fuel consumption while capturing atmospheric carbon in regenerated topsoils." "If we really want to address a deeply rooted, systemic problem like climate change, we may need to look at our society's most fundamental paradigms...." Dr. Heinberg goes on and discusses the importance of Innovators, and early adopters. Then comes early majority, late majority, and laggards in terms of the process of change. "...the greatest opportunities for significant change may be where diffusion and crisis meet, and where intervention is at a highly leveraged point within the social system." My small found object sculpture represents a fusion of human ingenuity/ideas/innovation and natural materials that are sustainably sourced to create energy. We made it to the moon and contemplate Mars... don't tell me we don't have what it takes to solve our current dilemma. Thanks to Dr. Heinberg for his courageous trailblazing into a new era.
2021
  • Marianne Bickett

Feeding the Monster, Expansion

Map, Color pencils, Sharpie

Looking at the proposed development plan for our community, it oddly and suitably enough took on the image of an all-consuming Monster. This plan is to create "light" industry, multi-family, and individual homes where currently there are working farms, small ranches, and, most importantly, sensitive designated "Title 13" riparian and upland conservation habitats (colored in dark green areas in the Monster). There are many empty commercial buildings in current town boundaries that should be utilized before such an ambitious plan becomes a reality. I wrote an article for the local newspaper "City Must Value Environment and Live in Unity with Wildlife" this summer where I question their justifications for this development because much of it is "vacant land". I wonder if they bothered to consider the wildlife in this definition, not to mention the biodiversity and sensitive habitat areas. When questioning the city council, basically the replies are that urban growth is good for the economy and brings in new taxes. That's the bottom line. Greed and grow, grow, grow!! It feels like cancer to me, a monster eating up all "vacant" land. Mindless Expansion = Collapse because it destroys the land that feeds us and that many animals call home. There are other creative solutions but the Monster must eat!
2021
  • Marianne Bickett

Wolves and Biodiversity: Caught in the Crosshairs

Pencil, marker, watercolor pencil on 8.5x11" printed and colored sheet with wolf biodiversity information,2021.

Science has proven wolves are keystone animals who foster biodiversity, such as the case in Yellowstone that is being carefully documented and studied. When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone after 70 years of absence, the tree, beaver, elk, bird and fish populations were restored to a healthy balance and began to thrive. Wolves keep so many systems in balance. So why are wolves still perceived as enemies? This past year wolves have been and are slated for massive slaughter in several states. Support @centerforbiodiv and @defendersofwildlife efforts to halt this insanity. We should be thanking the wolves, not killing them.
2021
  • Marianne Bickett

And yet it’s moving…

Installation

Manufacturers can endlessly toss the burden of non-sustainable, non-recyclable packaging to consumers so the problem goes away…that it’s not their problem!

I strung together colorful plastic packaging near our cloth Tibetan prayer flags as prayer flags asking manufacturers to take responsibility for their packaging. All the food these bags contained were organic and sustainably sourced. These are supposedly good companies that seem to care about the environment. But they pass on their non-recyclable packages to us, consumers. Please call, email, write the companies whose products you buy in such packages, and plead with them to consider alternatives like silicon, paper, and any other compostable bags. The solution is a huge challenge but we have brilliant minds who I know can develop a better way! When we put our minds to it, we can do anything that is important to us!! Think about it! We made it to the moon and we contemplate Mars…

I know we can choose to not buy these products. We’ve cut way back after this sobering year where I have stored every single non-recyclable bag and product we’ve purchased. It has made a huge impact on our choices. But sometimes I have no choice due to diet issues where I can only eat certain foods, and the pandemic has kept me away from bulk options.
Anyway, I could go on and on but it’s food for thought!
We reuse and repurpose these bags so that helps, too.
Thank you!
2021
  • Marianne Bickett

Drowning in Plastics – and Sea turtle

Installation

I saved non-recyclable plastic packaging for one year. Almost everything I purchased is from wonderful organic eco concerned companies…but the irony is that they use unsustainable packaging!! I’ve saved these so I can and WILL send each and every company what I’ve saved and ask them to please switch to paper, non-bees wax, or cardboard bags. Quaker Oats has used that round cardboard box for many years and it seems to work. Admittedly, during the pandemic, I wasn’t able to buy bulk seeds and nuts like I like to.

And I indulged in more comfort foods like pretzels. I also bought frozen fish, which I no longer do after I realized how the orcas are starving and we are overfishing our seas and rivers. I’ve not eaten red meat since I was twenty and have maintained a mostly vegan diet ever since. Anyway, I see how dependent I’ve been on these products… and how I can’t bear to send these bags into the earth to pollute with microplastics. We must all speak up and call out corporations to take responsibility for their packaging!!

Our social structure is dependent on this throw-away mentality. Once it’s sold, many (but not all businesses) don’t care what happens to the packaging! Insist that your grocer sells fruits and veggies unwrapped and just walk up and down the aisles and see the horrifying amount of plastic packages that are not 1 or 2 recyclable labeled. Oregon tried to pass a bill for truth in labeling but I don’t know if it survived the legislative process yet or not.

Our system needs to change and we can start where ever we are! Thank you!
2021
  • Marianne Bickett

Untitled

Drawing

The eye in the center of the pseudo book cover is of an old, depleted person with an oil drilling machine as the iris.

The analogy between a depleted body and a depleted earth is not far out connection. Quality of life on earth suffers as we deplete our planet of fossil fuels, fish, forests, and on and on. But always, always, there is hope if enough of us become truly aware of the crisis and take meaningful action. This “book” never needs to be published!!
2021
  • Marianne Bickett

Untitled

Collage

The theme this month is Population and Consumption. What struck me while listening to the Think Resilience course was the fact that “… at our current rate of consumption we humans…(to sustain US consumption) would need the equivalent of four earths to sustain us.” The one earth we do have needs our actions to save life on earth. Thank you WhatsNextForEarth for the great art calls!
2021
  • Marianne Bickett

Untitled

Digital photograph

There is a broken-down farm nearby. When we see the rusting farm machinery being overrun by plants I am sad and yet deep inside I feel a sense of peace. The planet will survive. The earth will go on and reinvent itself. We may take ourselves and other species down in our descent, but the planet has no limits. Perhaps life on the planet will prevail in some way. Nature will, in the end, reclaim and turn our waste into something new. I am not truly as bleak as this sounds. For there are so many now who have courage and things are changing. Will it be in time and will it be enough? It’s up to us. Or one day the Mona Lisa or the statue of David or the Golden Gate Bridge will look like the truck in this photograph.

Thanks to all of you for each and every little thing you do every day that matters.
2020
  • Marianne Bickett

Untitled

Drawing

I just finished watching Nate Hagen’s youtube “Navigating the Human Predicament” HF podcast #6 and highly recommend it! It was validating to me because the article I had published with other Sunbury press authors about the arts leading the way to a healthier world is exactly what Mr. Hagens advocates!! Last night I drew this profile image blind contour with my eyes closed. It reads (written after drawing) “This is just a bad dream” and then “Everything is going to go back to normal”. I’m expressing the denial we all do to varying degrees in regard to all that is happening (pandemic, fires, etc). I’m calling upon all artists, everyone, to be the soul of these troubled times and be brave!! Create your art, send the message of change and courage, envision a more balanced and healthier world! Put it to paper, pen, whatever!! And Nate points out how taking care of ourselves is taking care of the world! Bravo!! Exactly what I’ve preached for years!! Thank you, Nate! Also, participate in @WNFE September art call: the Human Predicament. Thank you, Michele! Let’s be the world we want to create!
2020
  • Marianne Bickett

Untitled

Drawing

Another blind contour without looking: “I am covering my face with my hands. I don’t know what to do.” At the bottom: “There is smoke everywhere.” Color and words added after drawing.

Thanks to @WhatsNextForEarth for the September Art Call of The Human Predicament for the prompt upon which I pondered while fires burned nearby and hazardous smoke has lingered for 9 days. Though we are sad and scared, we can take care of ourselves kindly and do kind things for others, including the animals who suffer with us. There is Hope. We can do this together.
2020
  • Marianne Bickett

Untitled

Digital image

I hope this photo speaks for itself.
Grateful for this opportunity to participate in the art call. Thank you
2020
  • Marianne Bickett

How Are You?

Digital image

The boundaries between inner self and outer world blur. I am a part of this river of life, a voyager through time and space on a beautiful planet. How am I? Every day I take refuge in my connection to life; and through daily meditation, I find the anchor that keeps me from being swept away by the emotions so palpable in the world. I strive to

b r e a t h e when fear arises, and always always come back to Love. How am I? I feel change afoot, I float, I swim, and when I feel I’m sinking, I lift my head up out of the current and feel Gratitude for being here.
2020
  • Marianne Bickett

How are you?
Reaching…letting go and holding on

Digital image

A third mysterious arm and hand appeared (upper left corner) when Brian took this photo of me raising my hands in front of a shadow from the window on our wall.

Reaching towards the light, looking into another realm, I am reminded every day is sacred. Without our shadows, we would not see the definition of ourselves. We need our shadows and they need us to see them and own them so we don’t project onto others. How am I? I am here and I am Whole.
2020
  • Marianne Bickett

Untitled

Collage, drawing

Using printed words in a mixed media collage/pencil contour drawing from a photograph of myself wearing sunglasses and a mask with a baseball cap on. I have needed to protect myself with loving care. Inner Change is represented by the butterfly and how I took words out of context from the SF newspaper to create hope in the midst of sad news. I used a photograph I took of a fritillary butterfly to represent rebirth. Behind me is a partial photo of social distance circles from above. The music, which is mostly cut out due to the size constraints, is copied backward and upside down from a piano composition by my husband, Brian, to represent how everything is being turned inside out and forcing us to rethink everything. From this crisis, we can begin again. And I believe the arts will express not only our emotional truths during this time but also lead the way towards healing of ourselves and our planet.
2020
  • Marianne Bickett

Untitled

Digital photograph

Living in the shadows of the Coronavirus, one of the first things we noticed was colorful chalk designs on the sidewalks of our neighborhood. How interesting that people needed to create art in response to the crisis and sheltering in place! Seeds are gestating during this dark moment in history. We hold our destiny in our everyday choices, and the seeds of change are scattered in anticipation of a healthier environment for all beings! Merci to Michèle for creating this opportunity to engage in Quarantine Discoveries!
2020
  • Marianne Bickett

Untitled

Drawing

The Coronavirus has changed us and gives us the chance to plant seeds of change. Maybe we could plant a tree for every person who has perished because of the pandemic. I chose a less used view of the earth (looking up towards Africa) because I thought it a nice change from the typical N America view and to emphasize the fact we are a planet comprised of mostly water. We need to address plastic pollution that is in our water and in our bodies. Maybe the Coronavirus can be the catalyst for us to find a new way, for us to bloom. Our earth is unique and our time here is so limited. Why not seize the moment to rethink how we are living? The Coronavirus is a whole world problem, we are connected by our suffering and our ability to work together to remedy the catastrophe we have created. There is yet great Hope! Thank you!

The analogy between a depleted body and a depleted earth is not far out connection. Quality of life on earth suffers as we deplete our planet of fossil fuels, fish, forests, and on and on. But always, always, there is hope if enough of us become truly aware of the crisis and take meaningful action. This “book” never needs to be published!!
2020
  • Marianne Bickett

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