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Art Mimics Life in a Dying Coral Reef Installation

An ocean advocate and artist Courtney Mattison depicts the end of the coral reef.
June 20, 2016, 2:15pm
Photos courtesy of Arthur Evans

A ceramic coral reef, poked with chopsticks to create realistic holes, is bleached and dying due to pollution. It’s called Our Changing Seas III and its the the third in a series of pieces celebrating the diversity and wonder of coral reefs. The installations depict different reefs, which get increasingly sick as the series progresses. Courtney Mattison, a self-described ocean advocate and artist, has a deep love of this strange living architecture, stemming partly from her admiration of the small creatures’ abilities to create something so vast and beautiful. The reef is part of an exhibition called Fired Up: Monumental Clay, which opened last week at the Palo Alto Art Center.


She works with ceramics in order to parallel the reefs’ precipitation of calcium carbonate, which is a common ingredient in clay and glaze materials. The creation of these installations is a slow and meticulous process of painting, puncturing, and texturing this sculpture. For Mattison, it is similar to the natural processes of coral reef construction. The fragility of this installation is purposeful as well—like the coral reef, this sculpture can easily destroyed if not protected. In creating this series, Mattison hopes to inspire curiosity in viewers, which might lead to a widespread effort to combat global warming and the harm being done to coral reefs.

To see more of Courtney Mattison’s work, check out her website. To see more about the exhibition this sculpture is a part of, click here.

Via Creative Boom


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