A Place for Fish in Heaven
Garden (feast) of Paradise
Recently I have been researching endangered species. I am interested in making something unseen to be seen. For the most part we have little understanding of what species are in peril. Fish are a vulnerable population as they are difficult to see and study. For the most part, the ocean is generally not under the stewardship of a specific country, so there are few regulations to protect habitats. As of today, there are nineteen species of fish of north American that have gone extinct or are severely endangered since the industrial revolution.
This collection of plates is a garden of clouds, a heaven for fish. I wanted to make an environment for extinct species to live out their days, to not disappear, metaphorically – a place to call home. The cloud plates represent heaven to me, and I wrapped each fish in gold to signify the value of each species.
I have always loved the lush quality of ceramics from the middle east, and the sense of abundance and Eden often portrayed. I have been influenced by the innate sense of pattern and order in the pottery, architecture and gardens of the middle east and find some solace in a structure. My own aesthetic has been influenced by studying middle east ceramics and I find great beauty in this pottery.
I am interested in displaying pottery in non-traditional ways to help convey ideas in the work. This does not diminish the utility of the objects, rather, its gives the viewer and ultimately the user a different understanding of the pottery. When pottery is on display in a gallery, it is a rather short flash point in the life of that piece, however, it has an effect on how we understand and experience the work. I hope by arranging the work in this exhibition, the viewer / user can take this idea home with them, a small piece of heaven.
Las Vegas Dace, Ash Meadows Poolfish, Blackfin Cisco, Clear Lake Splittail, Deepwater Cisco, Harelip Sucker, Harelip Sucker, Longjaw Cisco, Maryland Darter, Pahranagat Spinedace, Phantom Shiner, San Marcos Gambusia, Santa Cruz Pupfish, Scioto Madtom, Silver Trout, Snake River Sucker, Thicktail Chub, Utah Lake Sculpin, Whiteline Topminnow
Though most of these species are extinct or severely endangered, all is not hopeless, there are many fish similar to these still with us. For more information and ways to support endangered species there are many agencies, I have found these helpful:
IUNC Redlist (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
Earths Endangered Creatures
US Fish and Wildlife Service
International Fund for Animal Welfare
Sea Sheppard Conservation Society
Defenders of Wildlife
World Wildlife Fund