Russell Webner, “Oil Person”

Occasionally I run searches on friends and family members, just to see if anything interesting pops up.  Tonight a search of Russell’s name showed that he is one of the people in the “Carbon Capture Report,” a news monitoring service of the University of Illinois that focuses on climate change issues.  That’s right — the “‘Carbon Capture Report” has listed Russell as an “oil person.”

Why, you ask, would Russell be listed as an “oil person”?  So far as we know, he has no interest in petroleum products, has never set foot on Southfork Ranch, and doesn’t speak with a Texas twang.  If you look at the source article cited in Russell’s “oil person” biography, however, you see that it is a review of his recent show with three other art students, called “This The Range and Recent.”  One sentence in the review says:  “Two paintings by Webner that were on display use oils to portray digital media and computers in their valiant attempt to simulate war.”  And so, by virtue of that phrase and through the likely use of some automatic Boolean search tool that looks for names associated with “oil,” a comment about Russell’s use of oils in his artwork has made him an “oil person” in the “Carbon Capture Report.”

It doesn’t say much about the accuracy of the “biographies” in the “Carbon Capture Report” that a Vassar art student could be depicted as an oil man.  Given some of the recent revelations about the slipshod science and scholarship in the field of “global warming,” however, we probably shouldn’t be surprised.

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