In the late 70’s and early 80’s Rebecca Alston became pre-occupied with solar design and alternative energy. She realized that we have positive energy options and how oil was having a negative effect on the environment and the toll it takes on human life through wars.
Her most recent piece, Oil Wars, which is the sister piece to In Search of Wonder, takes a more in-depth look into the issues that surround the oil wars the world faces.
“Oil affects everyone’s life. It has caused a tremendous amount of loss through many wars. It destroys our ozone, oceans and other natural habitats,” explains Alston.
Though her overarching theme in many of her works is regarding damage and destruction of the environment, in Oil Wars, she addresses the international awareness.
Alston goes back to her roots of mixed media drawings and paintings. Oil Wars is masterfully produced with layering techniques of the Prismacolor pencil and paint but shows a more developed view of diversity in line qualities and relationship with space, referencing her background in avant-garde geometric language. She starts in a more non-objective manner and through the process of creation, delivers the title and meaning of each piece.
Technique is also what sets apart the sister pieces. In Search of Wonder has a lighter feel to it whereas, in Oil Wars, Alston drew from a more theoretical background that integrated texture, form, line work and color.
The two pieces do have similar aspects in the way that each shows visual vocabulary referencing to classical geometry, but the meaning behind each piece is different. In Search of Wonder leans more towards the exploration of possibilities and the connection to our universe, while Oil Wars takes a harsher approach. It’s more in your face. It’s about the destruction that is happening due to oil use and the creation of pollution.