This Artist Mixes a Methane-Reducing Enzyme into His Paint
Our culture's reliance on the beef industry sits at the center of Evan Sharma's work
EVAN SHARMA IS A MULTIDISCIPLINARY artist working at the intersection of art and science. He finds these opposing fields provide a creative friction that enables art to bring people into the conversation around the urgency of climate change. Art is not bound by the confines of science, and yet, science is where real world possibilities, knowledge and solutions are born. Ideas formed in the lab can be expanded on canvas. For Sharma, art is where dreaming happens. Science is where dreams are tested and applied.
During his research, Sharma found that the enzyme monooxygenase (MMO), which reduces methane emissions by up to 70%, could be transferred to cattle, who emit methane at a rate ten times the potency of carbon dioxide. By mixing the enzyme into paint, his 2050 series highlights the complicity of each of us in preserving (or destroying) the landscapes we love.
In 2050, iconic landscapes thrive again if we, as a society, curb climate change. Each painting depicts the contour of a cow, symbolizing both our society’s reliance on beef–a significant contributor to global warming–and how the MMO enzyme may provide a scientific solution. Sharma’s use of strong red and blue hues symbolizes methane build-up (the gas absorbs red light and reflects blue) in the atmosphere in the absence of collective action. Through a uniquely scientific lens, he presents the viewer with both a utopia and dystopia leaving it to them to choose a future.
Planet Icarus, 2050 series, 2023. Acrylic and methane monooxygenase on canvas, 48″ x 60″.
The World Is Yours, 2050 series, 2023. Acrylic and methane monooxygenase on canvas, 60″ x 96″.
Machu Picchu, 2050 series, 2023. Acrylic and methane monooxygenase on canvas, 60″ x 48″.
Left: Charity Shoal, 2050 Series, 2023. Acrylic and methane monooxygenase on canvas, 36″ x 48″. Right: Kanchenjunga, 2050 series, 2023. Acrylic paint and methane monooxygenase on canvas, 36″ x 48″.