Date of Award

December 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Jennifer Johung

Committee Members

Max Yela


Ecoart, Eco Art, Eco-Art, Environmentalism in Art, Thomas Ferrella


This thesis essay and accompanying exhibition approach environmental concerns through an art historical perspective by considering works of art by Thomas Ferrella, M.D. and artists’ books from Special Collections at UW-Milwaukee Libraries. The exhibition evades conventional boundaries of galleries in order to present artists’ books in their intended manner and to display Ferrella’s outdoor installations in context with UWM’s award-winning sustainability initiatives. The results exemplify how we shape earth and in turn how our actions upon earth impact us, emphasizing human interdependence on fragile ecosystems. Ferrella’s artworks and medical expertise in combination with the content in the artists’ books and UWM sustainability initiatives argue for a holistic approach to environmentalism that is yet to be embraced by much of the world’s human population.