Opening night at Sara Nightingale Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY, June 30th, 2022
What a beautiful evening to spend time talking and thinking about seagrass at Sara Nightingale’s Gallery. On this special evening we were joined by Stony Brook University professor Bradley Peterson and his charming students. The evening was just perfect, looking at actual seagrass and talking about solutions to improve water quality( we have lost 29% of our seagrass habitats globally). I spoke about the ideas and emotions behind my paintings; an exploration in color and composition informed by science.
As the evening progressed Bradley Peterson explained different parts of seagrass anatomy as well as seagrass restoration in Long Island. The successful Shinnecock Bay Restoration project resulted in clean water and more seagrass. Which in turn resulted in a lot more healthy clams, scallops, fish and invertebrates. It is recognized as the first Hope spot in New York State.
The reason why I love doing these collaborations is beacuase it brings the community out. I always learn something new and the audience engagement is inspiring. We had so many great questions specifically on what can be done about seagrass loss in Long Island. Bradley and his team had proactive suggestions on retrofitting septic tanks, and examples of how NY state helps with these projects. How wonderful!
Another good reason to have these events is because I get to meet new fascinating visitors like Katherine.
Katherine is a local Long Island surfer and loves the ocean like me. Here we are hanging out in front of her favorite painting called “Balance”. The painting “Balance” below references the ratio of nitrates, sulphates and oxygen for seagrass seeds to take root. It was inspired by my interview with Bradley Peterson earlier. I love this idea that we can not always see these elements at work with our bare eyes, yet we can measure them and adjust them to make it favorable for successful seagrass restoration.
So back to this notion “Earth Laughs in Flowers”. Yes, seagrass does have flowers and if you look closely at these sample blades below you can see the tiny black flowers on the sides of the plant.
The “Earth Laughs in Flowers” title for this exhibition was borrowed from a Ralph Waldo Emerson Poem called Hamarterya- the poem can be read below:
In Hamatreya, Emerson discusses our focus on accumulation and material wealth without realizing our own mortality. Emerson believed that long after we are gone, the flowers would return and be there. Yes, maybe, if we do something before our fragile seagrass ecosystem disappears. Globally almost one third of our seagrass meadows have gone, including all the flowers. We can not take it for granted that they will be here for future generations. We need to be active participants in ensuring they have a chance to return by keeping our oceans clean, getting vocal, and helping where we can.
For this exhibition, I chose to focus on the rich biodiversity seagrass meadows provide us. Like Neptune Grass below here. One of the oldest living organisms on the planet, this concept alone is inspiring to think about.
A big thank you to Sara Nightingale for all her hard work installing the work and making the Earth Laughs in Flowers exhibition both welcoming and lovely. Click the image below for a virtual tour of the show:
Please contact Sara Nightingale for any of the pieces in the exhibition:
26 Main Street
Sag Harbor, NY 11963