We do not fully understand the ramifications of globalization. One consequence is the uninhibited exchange of plant and animal organisms across natural boundaries. At times these swaps are deliberate and at other times unintentional, but the result is often the creation of an invasive species.
Any system is interconnected; small changes have huge impact. Within the system that connects humans to nature, we are the vehicle for the destruction of balance. While non-native organisms may provide novel interest and unique beauty, the natural controls that would normally keep them in check are missing. The result is an imbalance in the delicate equilibrium of our ecosystems.
Scientific research on invasive species is at the core of my current work which has addressed invasions across a broad range of habitats. My work, based in printmaking harnesses the reproductive nature of this medium to underscore the multiplicity of invasive species. I also employ drawing, and papercutting techniques to create installation and sculptural paper pieces, forming multi-layered, often large-scale works that employ a bold use of color, texture and form. With my work, I create a conversation between art and science, both of which strive to describe the visible and invisible world around us.
My current work reflects my interest in the marine environment which stems from the challenging nature of invasion biology in aquatic ecosystems. The eradication or management of invasive species on land is economically and environmentally challenging but possible. The successful management of these species underwater is especially challenging and usually not feasible.
Invasive species are not inherently bad. They exist within their native habitats in harmony with other organisms but travel to other ecosystems primarily through human mediated transfers. Relying on the visual language of dichotomy, I create work where viewers are confronted by the destructive organisms and globalized landscapes, they are complicit in generating. Using pattern, repetition, and layered color, I seduce the viewer, luring them into a menagerie of exotics. In this time of rapid environmental flux, my work focuses attention on a complicated issue that is often ignored because it lacks an easy solution.
April Flanders is a studio artist living and making in the mountains of Western North Carolina. A keen naturalist, her work has been featured in solo and group shows at museums and galleries nationally and internationally, including the Katzen Center, in Washington, DC, the Atlantic Gallery in New York, NY, the Douro Museum in Douro, Portugal, Center for the Book Arts, in New York, NY, the Anna Leonowens Gallery, in Nova Scotia, Canada and Blue Spiral Gallery, in Asheville, NC. Her work is in numerous private and public collections, including the Asheville Museum of Science, in Asheville, NC, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Scottsdale, AZ, the Special Collections Library, Rare Books, University of Iowa, in Iowa City, IA and the Esther Allen Greer Museum of Fine Arts, in Rio Grande, OH.
April Flanders holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Florida State University. She earned her Masterís of Fine Arts in printmaking from Arizona State University in 1999. Ms. Flanders has been an invited speaker on numerous panels at national conferences and has participated in residencies nationally and internationally. She has been teaching printmaking for twenty years at various universities both nationally and internationally. Currently, she teaches full time at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.