Quantcast

Ocean 'Artivist' Creates Breathtaking Coral Reef Sculptures

By Clara Chaisson

Courtney Mattison's large-scale ceramic coral reef installations are a labor of love. The artist-slash-ocean-advocate (Mattison likes to call herself an ocean “artivist") shapes every branch and ridge of her porcelain colonies by hand, using chopsticks to poke thousands of holes for just the right texture and meditating on how the calcium carbonate found in the glaze is the same building block used by the polyps themselves.

“I enjoy feeling like a coral," Mattison writes in her artist statement, “patiently and methodically constructing large, delicate, stony structures that can change an ecosystem."

Courtney Mattison stands in front of "Our Changing Seas III." Photo credit: Arthur Evans

Delicate is the adjective that Mattison most hopes viewers of her art will take with them. Her works, which have been exhibited at the headquarters of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, are “inspired by the fragile beauty of coral reefs and the human-caused threats they face."

These pictures come from Sea Change, her new solo show currently on display at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art until April 17. The sprawling Our Changing Seas III, above, has a vibrantly colored center, but the outer fringes are the ghostly white of a bleached reef. Mattison understands all too well that the decisions we make about how to treat our Blue Planet could make or break her beloved corals.

Detail of "Our Changing Seas III." Photo credit: Arthur Evans

Detail of "Our Changing Seas III." Photo credit: Arthur Evans

"Hope Spots, Micronesian Islands II." Photo credit: Courtney Mattison

Read page 1

"Hope Spots, Outer Seychelles II." Photo credit: Courtney Mattison

"Aqueduct." Photo credit: Glen McClure

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Nature-Inspired Rugs Transform Your Home Into a Natural Landscape

Massive Starfish Die-Off Linked to Warming Oceans

Humpback Whale Entangled in Illegal Gillnet Saved by Sea Shepherd Crew

Artist Turns Old Skateboards Into Beautiful New Guitars

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Dan Nosowitz

It's no secret that the past few years have been disastrous for the American farming industry.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and coconut oil are fats that have risen in popularity alongside the ketogenic, or keto, diet.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Bijal Trivedi

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.

Read More Show Less
Rool Paap / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be good or bad depending on the situation.

Read More Show Less

By Joe Vukovich

Under the guise of responding to consumer complaints that today's energy- and water-efficient dishwashers take too long, the Department of Energy has proposed creating a new class of dishwashers that wouldn't be subject to any water or energy efficiency standards at all. The move would not only undermine three decades of progress for consumers and the environment, it is based on serious distortions of fact regarding today's dishwashers.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

By Emily Moran

If you have oak trees in your neighborhood, perhaps you've noticed that some years the ground is carpeted with their acorns, and some years there are hardly any. Biologists call this pattern, in which all the oak trees for miles around make either lots of acorns or almost none, "masting."

Read More Show Less

By Catherine Davidson

Tashi Yudon peeks out from behind a net curtain at the rooftops below and lets out a sigh, her breath frosting on the windowpane in front of her.

Some 700 kilometers away in the capital city Delhi, temperatures have yet to dip below 25 degrees Celsius, but in Spiti there is already an atmosphere of impatient expectation as winter settles over the valley.

Read More Show Less

The Dog Aging Project at the University of Washington is looking to recruit 10,000 dogs to study for the next 10 years to see if they can improve the life expectancy of man's best friend and their quality of life, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less