Climate Change

April 7, 2014 to May 18, 2014


Detail of Coral Boneyard, Mixed Media

When water temperature reaches about 85 degrees F, coral starts to bleach, i.e. loses its essential symbiotic algae that nourishes it, leaving it white. This realistic scene of a heat-damaged reef in the Maldives, Indian Ocean, is a virtual "graveyard" of bone-like fragments. Altered from a 2004 photo by National Geographic magazine. More than 27% of the world reefs have been lost.


This exhibit features environmentally inspired artwork of Maynard Nichols, Professor Emeritus of William & Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). The paintings highlight the important issue of climate change, which increasingly occupies the attention of environmentalists, scientists, the media, and Congress. It is of concern locally for the impacts of hurricanes, rising sea levels, and effects on Chesapeake Bay fauna and flora.

The paintings are organized to be viewed numerically starting to the left of Lord Botetourt and going clockwise around the lower gallery. The exhibit is comprised of five sections: (1) Agents Causing Climate Change, (2) Signs of Change, (3) Impacts of Change, (4) Future Timelines, and (5) Possible Solutions. Much of the translation from science to fine art is captured in the artist statements.

The paintings result from a wide variety of sources, techniques, and media. Some paintings draw on photographs or satellite imagery, others on scientific illustrations or personal interpretations, and impacts reported in the literature, such as the United Nations report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007). The multimedia paintings are like visual experiments that explore design and discover ideas through shape, color, and texture. They provide a visual journey along which something new can be learned.

This exhibit is a contribution from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) to the Earth Week celebration sponsored by the Committee On Sustainability.


For more information about the exhibit, please read Erin Kelly's news story: VIMS Emeritus Professor unveils climate-change art at W&M


About the artist:

Maynard Nichols, marine artist, began a serious pursuit of art after retiring as a professor from William & Mary's Department of Marine Science. He taught oceanography and marine geology for 32 years. Self-taught in art to a degree, Maynard acquired skills and design concepts in art workshops and working groups. He is associated with and/or exhibits in This Century Gallery, The Rappahannock Art League's Studio Gallery, The Virginia Water Color Society, and previously with the National Park Service Arts for the Parks.