Monday, March 23, 2015

Plastic Pledges

The Great Morgani, accordionist extraordinaire, kicked off the Blue festivities, an evening of exhibitions and events at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. The big draw was Everybody's Ocean, a salon style floor to ceiling extravaganza part-crowd source, part curated. It's a love fest for 71% of the earths surface and in this case more than 71% of the gallery walls. 

Throughout the museum there were displays from ocean related organizations including our old friend Rachel Kippen from Save Our Shores and presentations from our new friend marine conservationist Sally-Christine Rodgers.

Our table top activity was billed as Feeling Blue. My able assistant, museum volunteer, nicknamed "Rat," set the stage by making the first example. All evening she encouraged visitors to sort through a mass of blue and colorful plastics to make make artful arrangements. Some folks just fooled around — putting one piece of plastic next to another in spontaneous constructions; others aligned the colors in balancing acts finding creative ways to make an elaborate tower of toothbrushes and straws stand up. All were astonished to learn that all of the plastic was from Kehoe Beach.

In the Lezin Gallery is our exhibit Plastic Pledges (until April 19). Looming overhead, hung from the ceiling is MAW a hulk of a tubular net, a piece of a trawl net with its mouth wide open to emphasize that it is clearly a mouth and digestive tube, that once scraped the seabed taking with it quantities of useable fish and along with it vast quantities of by-catch.

MAW, a gaping trap for all who enter its surround (fish, turtles, birds, marine mammals) carries a powerful message about the problem of industrial fishing practices and overfishing an already strained fish stock. As a twisting and powerful visual force it reinforces our message to stop eating fish, to give the ocean a break.

And, speaking of eating, our prints of plates full of plastic from our Unaccountable Proclivities series graced one area of the gallery and my shadow boxes of jewelry graced the other.

The center piece was a "kelp forest." Strands of rope with tags where visitors can write about their first memory of the ocean and what they pledge to do for the ocean.

After an evening with the calming influence of all that oceanic blue, the next morning it was a shock to the senses to see this window display in downtown Santa Cruz - talk about color!!! My eyes and my teeth hurt.