Ocean debris is the focus of this touring exhibition organised by the Anchorage Museum and currently on show at USC Fisher Museum of Art in Los Angeles, USA.
I am using a Mac to write, there is an iPhone on my desk, a Samsung screen looms above my head – a familiar scene to most of us.
As I witnessed first hand during a research visit, China is an incredible country, this extraordinary article highlights our combined responsibility for the impact on the earth that our lust for technology engenders. Its insightful and non-judgemental and therefore worth taking five minutes between texting to read.
In the not too distant future it is predicted that wars will be over basic natural resources such as water. In these fascinating articles we are reminded how we continue to abuse this vital resource and ignore the impact of our behaviour on its supply and quality.
I am in the middle of making a new sculpture informed and inspired by research into declining bee populations. The work has been gestating for many months as I battled with the challenge of how to materialise the concept. My working title for the sculpture is Silent Wings.
Research threads and articles relating to bees that you may find interesting.
Other blogs posts about this issue:
Honey Trap 28 January 2013
Save the Buzzzz 4 May 2013
19 June 2013 and 19 August 2013
I have discovered a rather wonderful new environmental organisation and gallery in Brighton – http://onca.org.uk/ ONCA currently have a call-out for artists interested in creating work examining our relationship with plastic for the exhibition INorganic – this got me thinking about oil and our obsession with it, and how we are willing to ravage nations, start wars and decimate wildlife in our pursuit of possession of the liquid gold.
What are your thoughts?
I took this photograph of feathers washed-up by the tide earlier this year – the imagery struck a cord with me, although at the time the reason was a mystery to me. It now forms the foundation for my research into oil slicks and how our fixation with oil transcends all others.
Good sources of information about the effects of oil on seabirds can be found here http://bird-rescue.org/our-work/research-and-education/how-oil-affects-birds.aspx
I have been experimenting with found feathers embedded in dyed resin to simulate the blackness of oil. The samples above show how the resin beautifully envelopes the feathers echoing the slick’s deadly characteristic. The left sample suggests how the marauding oil flows into clean water and the birds, abstracted to feathers, gradually become saturated and submerge.
The photo-manipulation below evokes the kind of visual message I am aiming at.
Remember back in March, when it was sunny and bitter cold, I spent a beautiful Saturday on Lake Windermere with 265 divers from across the UK salvaging debris from its murky depths. The dive was to raise awareness about water pollution, and led by charity Friends of the Lake District, the rubbish was collected for me to scrutinise and select from to make a three sculptures. Yesterday the three were unveiled at Wray Castle, near Ambleside, and here they are in all their algae-ridden, stench laden, damaged and dangerous glory!
Many thanks to Dayve Ward for his wonderful photographs of my work. http://www.photographybyward.co.uk/
An antique bottle lies as a dead fish, floating in its own watery grave inside the damaged buoy, trapped on a lake of broken glass. Resurrected from the Lake’s polluted depths the shards signify danger juxtaposed against the sanctuary of the float. Symbolising the degrading planet, in its form and condition, the buoy lies silent and still.
Materials: salvaged debris from the bottom of Lake Windermere: broken pick-up buoy and smashed old glass bottles embedded in polyester resin
Dimensions: 35 x 35 x 35cm
Flying Fish Sculptures
These sculptures were created in response to two local primary schools work on the value of biodiversity, ecological balance and the threat of water pollution to species in the Lake. Both were made from rubbish found by the divers.
Langdale CE Primary School inspired Flying Fish: Sunglasses
Hawkshead Esthwaite Primary School inspired Flying Fish: Headless Rider
Catch the exhibition at Wray Castle till August.
The exhibition celebrates the end of the three-year project Secret Windermere.
Digital photomontage created from a photograph of flotex carpet magnified 100 times using a scanning electron microscope at uclan, images of real bees and actual gas masks.
The work above was created this winter in response to the research I have been doing over the last few years investigating the decline in bee population and its possible causes. The alarming news that bee decline has reached 30% in the western world has made the issue become mainstream news. The value of this insect to us is difficult to estimate, in 2005 the figure £130 billion was made, as it is vital for pollinating our crops. 90% of the world’s food focuses on a hundred crop species and over 70 of these rely on bees to pollinate them.
Scientists have shown that the grave reduction in bee numbers is due to air pollution, intensive farming, over-cropping, loss of flowering plants, decline in beekeepers, a lethal pinhead-sized parasite that has been wiping out colonies in the last 30 years (Varroa destructor) and most importantly the increased use of pesticides and herbicides.
The insecticide neonicotinoid has negative affects on the bee colonies – it has been shown to scramble their navigation systems so they get lost. Sold since 1994 the insecticide forms a coat on the seeds which is then absorbed into the growing plant where some is ingested by the bees. The latest thinking is to ban these chemicals but some scientists and bee keepers are still unconvinced that the replacements will fair better with the insect.
I can not be alone in thinking that the problems endless artificial fertilisers cause should make us re-evaluate our farming methods and return to safer and more sustainable production. We can all aim to value food more, eat less, expect less, share more and generally take better care of the creatures who buzzzzz past us.
On Saturday I joined 270 divers on Lake Windermere for a special salvage dive to remove detritus from the lake bed. The wonderful spring day meant excellent conditions for extracting rubbish from the silt. The charity organisation ‘Friends of the Lake District’ had organised the dive to highlight the problem that waste causes to aquatic ecosystems.