When the CODEX Foundation teamed up with the Sebastopol Center for the Arts (known informally as SebArts) on an artistic project to shed light upon the issue of ‘extraction’ Sonoma artist William Sig Rundstrom surprised himself by taking on the challenge. His and the other participanting artists work spotlights the negative social and environmental consequences of industrialized natural resource extraction.
‘Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss’ exhibit opens this October 23 at SebArts and as Sam Pelts of the CODEX Foundation noted, “it will feature a global coalition of artists and creators committed to shining a light on all forms of extractive industry—from mining and drilling to the reckless plundering and exploitation of fresh water, fertile soil, timber, marine life, and innumerable other resources across the globe.”
A juried exhibition, ‘Extraction…’ is a multimedia, multi-venue, cross-border art intervention which seeks to provoke societal change by exposing and interrogating the negative social and environmental consequences of industrialized natural resource extraction.
Fracking, drilling, deforestation are all forms of extraction, taking things from the earth.
Robin Dintiman, Holly Downing and Catherine Devriese are the curators of the exhibit. And as Rundstrom (Sig to his friends) explained further…
“I found out about the ‘Extraction…’ exhibit from Catherine Devriese when I participated in the SebArts exhibit “Black , White and Shades of Grey” which had my Sgraffito art piece ‘Owl Cove’ in the show.”
Sig submitted a work entitled ‘Dissolution.’ He explained in more detail.
“I recommended that my friend and environmental artist Paul Ford, submit some artwork which he did with one of his works being accepted.”
As a committed environmentalist, Ford incorporates natural substances, even pieces of debris into his art to make a statement. As the Santa Rosa Press Democrat mentioned in a feature about Ford back in 2017, Ford will add unique textures while making statements about the Earth’s “poor diet” and its need for change.
With Ford as fellow artist and neighbor Sig had confidence to enter the exhibit.
“I decided to also submit ‘Dissolution’ which I had completed based on figure sketches I had done in life drawing sessions at Sonoma Community center. It had to be painted rapidly due to the oil paint mixed with a lot of solvent so the paint would run down the canvas to get the effect I envisioned.
Although I am deeply disturbed and concerned about humanity’s destruction of the environment the ‘Dissolution’ is one of the few paintings I have done directly addressing such social issues,” Sig said.
“The title ‘Dissolution’ combined with the painting in essence I believe speak for themselves with the viewer seeing their own interpretation in the painting,” said Sig.
Acknowledging the recent outpouring of Sig’s work, fellow Arts Guild of Somoma member Bonnie Walner said. “There’s a sincerity in his work. As a designer, to me his work is exciting to look at. It has a truth and a meaning. And I feel it can be placed anywhere because it’s timeless.”
Walner like many of the people of the Creekside area of Somoma where Sig lives and works has seen him produce a variety of different kinds of art. From murals to portraits, from abstracts to still life, the outpouring of work Sig has done is perhaps his life’s best.
While COVID-19 presented obstacles for many, for Sig it has been his most prolific time ever. Referring to his energy as ‘mojo’ he told this reporter. “My Mr. Mojo is still going strong.”
In addition to the varied range and type of art work, Sig likes to work with techniques and applications. Sgraffito is one technique which Sig has incorporated into his artistic repertoire. Pleased that he is also included in showings in the town of Sonoma itself, Sig’s Sgraffito series “Sonoma Plaza“ will be in the upcoming Arts Guild of Sonoma exhibit starting on Oct 6,2021
He is now utilizing the ‘cold wax’ technique. Mixing oils with beeswax this technique creates a layered effect. Some artists such as Laura Culic of Toronto, describes it as “buttery.”
“I am now into ‘Cold wax,’ said Sig. as part of my regimen I use a rubber tipped shaper, palette knives, and different colored squeegees when working with the cold wax technique.”
Turning his attention back to the upcoming exhibit at SebArts he said. “I do not normally paint with social issues in mind. But since so much has been happening lately in the world I decided to make a statement and submitted the ‘Dissolution.’
‘Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss’ opens on Oct. 23 at Sebastopol Center for the Arts and continues until Nov. 28
To learn more about Somoma artist William Sig Rundstrom, visit his website