Making Waves: Ocean Ecology & Craft
Craft in America Center is pleased to present a dynamic virtual exhibition of more than fifty mixed media works made by eleven artists from across the U.S. who depict the beauty of our seas and confront various ecological and human-generated threats.
Making Waves focuses on artworks that celebrate and champion our oceans. These gathered objects shed light on the impact of climate change on the bodies of seawater across the planet, the hazards to life within them, and their vitality to our survival. Along with all that we have faced over the past year, the ongoing and surmounting climate crisis remains one of the largest existential and physical threats to life on Earth. From global warming and rising ocean levels to microplastics, carbon emissions, and overfishing, the issues are numerous and urgent. The group of artists featured in this exhibition use various craft media to reflect the richness of the natural world that exists underwater. They remind us about the need to protect these resources before we are left with nothing more than their artistic likenesses.
Craft-based artists are particularly honed in on materials and process. Materials can be rich with metaphorical potential. Artists often evoke these messages in their choice of media. In representing nature through delicate, intricately manipulated materials, these artists echo how precious and delicate our environment, its natural assets, and aquatic life truly are. Works in clay, glass, and other materials can endure for millennia but they also have an inherent fragility. In other featured examples, artists adapt and reinterpret discarded materials to give them new life.
As artists who are addressing concerns for the environment, these individuals make every effort to weigh the eco-impact of their own practices. This includes the sourcing of art materials and the carbon imprint of their methods of production. In this era of climate crisis, these artists give shape and form to the environmental issues facing the globe by echoing the transcendent beauty of nature in their work.
For programming related to this exhibition see the links to the right (desktop), bottom (mobile), or click here for all upcoming events.
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Click and drag, or use your arrow keys, to see a 360º view of the virtual space, including tags with object information and images.
Craft Capsules Playlist:
Craft in America has paired these short videos of the artworks with audio testimonials of the artists’ statements. Click on the button in the top right to view the entire playlist.
View the objects in the exhibition below and click on each image for additional information.
On 43 Coral Canaries: “Both coral and canaries are considered sentinel species, which detect risks to humans by providing advance warning of an environmental danger…Each of the 43 pieces represents one billion metric tonnes of estimated carbon dioxide emissions from human activities in 2019. This project was made carbon neutral by purchasing carbon offsets through The Gold Standard Foundation.” The goal of the Coral Canary Project is to support coral reef conservation. For more information click here.
“I am inspired by the relationship between humans and the water and land that sustain them. My work explores how landscapes change over time focusing on those places where destruction and renewal, wounding and healing, absence and presence overlap.”
“In 2008 I went to the Great Barrier Reef although I had not been since I was a kid, having grown up on the east Pacific Coast of Australia. I was struck by the effects of environmental change. My work suggests something seismic, a terrifying beauty.”
Ana Lisa Hedstrom
“Amphritrite is part of a series called “Terra Enferma”. The title references the phrase terra ferma, which means solid earth. This term has changed with our recognition of global warming and the devastating changes in our oceans and land….thus, ‘sick earth’.”
Po Shun Leong
“The way creativity works with me, is that I can’t write about it, I can just do it and experiment in an abstract way.”
“Sadly, coral reefs are so threatened by our greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and overfishing that scientists agree they may cease to function by the end of this century. As a sculptor with a background in marine conservation science and policy, I believe art impacts our emotions and can move us to value the blue planet we live on in ways that scientific data often cannot.”
“Emotion fills me when I see perfect forms in nature, from the cracked conch shell on the beach revealing its perfect spiral, to the milkweed pod burst in the field, its brilliant airborne seeds streaming into the sunlight. The ordered symmetry and asymmetry of nature’s forms reveal the growth of life, the movement of life.”
“My artistic goals are to be in active dialogue with interspecies communication, material experimentation, and theory behind new definitions of ecology.”
“The ultimate meaning of my work resides in engaging viewers, while remaining elusive, in making personal and poetic connections to the conflict between nature and a culture of consumption. The work speaks to the creation of the Anthropocene in regards to the environment, but makes no predictions as to the outcome.”
“Though I am a conscious being, I am smaller than a speck of dust, a microbe in the universe. Not even that significant. Yet it is possible that even my tiniest of actions are capable of creating monumental ripple-effect, whether I am aware of or able to reconcile those impacts or not.”
“The world cannot wait decades for cutting edge researchers, corporations, government, and institutions to implement change. I am optimistic. Disruptive environmental approaches, separate from political noise, will create a future for humankind.”
Related Objects from the Craft in America Permanent Collection
This project is supported by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. www.culturela.org
Additional support for the Craft in America Center is provided by the California Arts Council, a state agency (learn more at www.arts.ca.gov) and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.