My abstract paintings are about the sensations of life within seagrass beds; the color, the energy, and interconnectedness of species. Seagrass is a flowering plant that lives in the shallow waters of our oceans and needs light to survive. It is home to thousands of sea animals including the dugong, manatee, green sea turtle and many more. Seagrass helps with shore erosion (slows down wave action) and hold down CO2s in it’s roots. For me, seagrass symbolizes an amazing source of potentiality.
“Something’s in the Water” is my new series of paintings that deal with the ambiguous space between the recognizable and unrecognizable. Something appears so real and familiar you are convinced it is one thing, yet you are not sure if you can trust your vision or your sense of reality. For example in “Sea Hare”, an imaginary creature with pink and purple stripes floats across a celestial dark space. This was inspired by a fascinating sea slug that actually eats algae from seagrass blades cleaning off some of the gunk we put in to our oceans. Everyday, 50 football fields of seagrass beds are dying globally due to pollution. Nitrates and sulfates from fertilizers get into the oceans creating large algae blooms. These blooms block light, kill off seagrass, and result in thousands of displaced sea animals.
For me, “Something’s in the Water” is about trying to make sense of our current political and environmental situation. For instance in “Hydrochloric Acid”, I painted a romantic watery seascape with jagged charcoal lines that prevents viewers from entering into a relaxed landscape. I wanted to create tension between knowing and not knowing; it looks safe but we are not sure. This painting references the current oil & gas fracking going on and how we don’t really know what affects the hydrochloric acid has on our oceans, seagrass, and our drinking water in Oklahoma. In “Lead”, I painted large areas of cascading shapes that are in precarious balance with pencil marks etched into the surface of the paper. Sharp charcoal marks weave through the space. When Michigan sourced Flint’s drinking water from the polluted River (it was cheaper), residents got brown tap water, this resulted in serious irreversible health problems with lead poisoning. All of these water pollution related problems are happening now with the 1972 Clean Water Act in place.
“Something’s In the Water” raises questions about how the current administration is trying to “Roll Back” The 1972 Clean Water Act. What will happen if fertilizer and pesticide makers, farmers, developers, and other businesses don’t have to adhere to proper safeguards in protecting our rivers, estuaries, oceans, seagrass and our health? Research suggests that we have about 14 years of seagrass beds left if we carry on polluting our waters at the same rate as we have been. My concern is that this may double if we “Roll Back” Regulations.“Something’s in the Water” is about love; it’s about seeing the interconnectedness between plants, animals, and our selves.
You can help protect our waters by contacting your congress people by clicking here:
For learning more about why seagrass and how I got involved with BU’s Alyssa Novak’s Conservation project click:
For volunteering with Alyssa Novak’ s seagrass conservation group email Hanna:
For helping fund Alyssa’s awesome conservation efforts:
I am a member of the following associations
Here are some of my favorite marine ecology web sites