“Oil on Canvas,” The Advocate

By John McCusker, New Orleans bureau, via The Advocate

When the Macondo well blew in April of 2010, killing 11 men and setting off the worst oil discharge in U.S. history, Jacqueline Bishop’s initial reaction was one of action. After all, the New Orleans-based visual artist has spent decades highlighting environmental issues in exotic locals like the Amazon. Yet here was a major man-made disaster in her own backyard.

Bishop spent many weeks during the spill working at Grand Isle State Park cleaning oil from beach-hugging hermit crabs and reintroducing them to the water. It was something to do at a time when those in charge searched, seemingly in vain, for ways to stop the torrent of oil flowing from the Gulf floor.

Ultimately though, it became a source of artistic inspiration and the oil found its way onto Bishop’s canvases. “I’m not the type of person that can go back to the studio and pretend like this never happened. It does filter into the work, it filters into my psyche, it filters into my philosophy. I saw the oil, heard the stories, and all of that ended up in the paintings,” she said.

Bishop also collects water from the environments she is painting. Waters from the Amazon were used to mix the paint for Bishop’s work there.