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Reclamation of Acid Mine Drainage as a Medium for Change. Artist Talk & Reception in conjunction with The World In Which We Live Exhibition.
Sponsored by Three Valley Conservation Trust and MU FOCUS Program

John Sabraw, Artist/Environmentalist; Professor of Art, Ohio University


Bio Artist John Sabraw was born in Lakenheath, England. An activist and environmentalist, Sabraw’s paintings, drawings and collaborative installations are produced in an eco-conscious manner, and he continually works toward a fully sustainable practice. He collaborates with scientists on many projects, and one of his current collaborations involves creating paint and paintings from iron oxide extracted in the process of remediating polluted streams. This sustainably sourced pigment is now for sale as a 3 tube set from Gamblin Artists Colors.


Sabraw’s art is in numerous collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Honolulu, the Elmhurst Museum in Illinois, Emprise Bank, Bank of America, and Accenture Corp. He is represented by Qualia Contemporary Art, Palo Alto, CA; McCormick Gallery, Chicago, IL.


Sabraw is a Professor of Art at Ohio University where he chairs the Painting + Drawing and Digital Art + Technology programs and is Board Advisor at Scribble Art Workshop in New York. He has most recently been featured in TED, Smithsonian, New Scientist, London, Great big Stories, Business Insider, and Time.



Insta: @john_sabraw




Talk Abstract:

While our harnessing of nature to produce energy is a wondrous feat of ingenuity and engineering, for Sabraw it’s also emblematic of our consumption and hubris. The connections created by this production form a hidden network most people have no idea exists, yet each of us has a part in its formation. Often the only visible evidence is pollution in our waterways and biodiversity decline. Sabraw’s talk will explore the topographies of these connections and possible solutions for a more sustainable future—not only in terms of the environment, but economically and socially sustainable lifecycles as well.

Sabraw's work in the show is inspired by satellite imagery, dynamic flows of waterways, and the poetic beauty of complex ecosystems. Sabraw paints with vivid colors and a variety of textures as the works negotiate a flow state from abstraction to representation. Materiality is key as Sabraw incorporates sustainably sourced pigments created in collaboration with his Pollution to Paint team and Gamblin Artist Colors. To make these pigments, Sabraw works with a team of engineers and environmentalists to remediate streams polluted from acid mine drainage from coal mining; iron oxide pollutant is separated from the clean water and transformed into safe and sustainable artist’s pigment.



For more information, please visit the artist’s website: 


Sponsored by the Three Valley Conservation Trust

We are also grateful for the support from the Department of Art and the FOCUS Program at Miami University. 


  • Randy Evans
  • Grace Elizabeth Rohrbacher

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