Saturday, October 29, 2016

Fleeting - ArtCloth
Sea Scrolls. Celebrating 50 Years of Print

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

My artwork has appeared in a number of exhibitions which have been featured on this blog spot. For your convenience I have listed these posts below.

ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions (Marie-Therese Wisniowski - Curator's Talk)
Sequestration of CO2 (Engaging New Visions) M-T. Wisniowski
Codes – Lost Voices (ArtCloth Installation) M-T. Wisniowski
Unleashed: The Rise of Australian Street Art (Art Exhibition) Various Artists
Merge and Flow (SDA Members Exhibition) M-T. Wisniowski
The Journey (Megalo Studio) M-T. Wisniowski
Another Brick (Post Graffiti ArtCloth Installation) M-T. Wisniowski
ArtCloth Swap & Exhibition
When Rainforests Ruled (Purple Noon Art & Sculpture Gallery) M-T. Wisniowski
When Rainforests Glowed (Eden Gardens Gallery) M-T. Wisniowski
My Southern Land (Galerie 't Haentje te Paart, Netherlands) M-T. Wisniowski
The Last Exhibition @ Galerie ’t Haentje the Paart
Mark Making on Urban Walls @ Palm House (Post Graffiti Art Work)
My Eleven Year Contribution to the '9 x 5' Exhibition at the Walker Street Gallery & Arts Centre
Timelines: An Environmental Journey
Man-Made Fish Kills

Fleeting - Art Cloth
On the 21st February of 2016 I was invited to exhibit in the Newcastle Printmakers Workshop Exhibition titled - ‘Sea Scrolls. Celebrating 50 Years of Print’ - an exhibition of scrolls at Art Systems Wickham art gallery, Newcastle, 21th to 30th October 2016.

The criteria for the exhibition was based on the following:
Sci-fi writer H.P. Lovecraft once said that the ocean "is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time." We land-dwellers can sometimes take the ocean for granted, but we really shouldn't, since the Earth's surface is 70% water. When you think of it that way, this is the ocean's planet, and we're just guests.

I hope you enjoy my journey in creating the piece for the ‘Sea Scrolls. Celebrating 50 Years of Print’ exhibition which I have named ‘Fleeting’.

The Research Concepts
Around 252 million years ago, during the Permian-Triassic extinction event, an estimated 90 to 95 percent of marine and terrestrial species became extinct. As a result, oceanic reefs did not exist anywhere on the planet for ten million years.

“The Great Dying,” as it’s now known, was the most severe mass extinction in Earth’s history, and is probably the closest life has come to being completely extinguished. Possible causes include immense volcanic eruptions, rapid depletion of oxygen in the oceans, and - an unlikely option - an asteroid collision.

While the causes of this global catastrophe are unknown, an MIT-led team of researchers has now established that the end-Permian extinction was extremely rapid, triggering massive die-outs both in the oceans and on land in less than 20,000 years - the blink of an eye in geologic time. The researchers also found that this time period coincides with a massive buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which likely triggered the simultaneous collapse of species in the oceans and on land.

With further calculations, the group found that the average rate at which carbon dioxide entered the atmosphere during the end-Permian extinction was slightly below today’s rate of carbon dioxide release into the atmosphere due to fossil fuel emissions. Over tens of thousands of years, increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide during the Permian period likely triggered severe global warming, accelerating species extinctions [1].

In the meantime, Paleontologists from the University of Zurich now reveal that climate catastrophes in the past played a crucial role in the dominance of ray-finned fish today.

The scientists studied the changes in biodiversity among cartilaginous and bony fish during the Permian and Triassic periods around 300 to 200 million years ago - an interval marked by several serious extinction events. They evaluated the global scientific literature on bony and cartilaginous fish from the last 200 years and collected data on diversity and body size, the latter providing an indication of the fish’s position in the food chains in the seas and freshwater.

Based on the data evaluated, the researchers demonstrate that cartilaginous fish, the most biodiverse fish group at the time, especially suffered heavily during an extinction event in the Middle Permian epoch while the Permian ray-finned fish escaped relatively unscathed. After an even bigger mass extinction close to the Permian-Triassic boundary, which wiped out 96 percent of all sea organisms, these bony fish diversified heavily. Of the ray-finned fish, the so-called Neopterygii (“new fins”) became particular biodiverse during the Triassic and, with over 30,000 species, today constitute the largest vertebrate group. Their spectacular variety of forms ranges from eels, tuna, flounders and angler fish all the way to seahorses [2].

Artist Statement, Conceptual Processes and Solutions
Artist Statement
This ArtCloth Sea Scroll depicts the fragility of life due to The Great Permian Extinction. The trilobites (lower half) are representative of the extinct marine species, whereas the sea horse (upper half) represents new species, with both halves being connected by the extinction timeline.

Conceptual Processes
A number of factors needed to be considered to encompass the concepts in the ArtCloth piece:
(i) That the background needed texture to represent the earth’s land and in particular, ocean topographies.
(ii) That imagery included the idea of islands and land masses being covered by rising oceans.
(iii) That references were made to the recent warming of the planet and climate change issues by incorporating warm hues such as orange, yellow and red.
(iv) That references were made to the previous cooling of the planet and those historical climatic events by incorporating cool hues such as various blues, greys, purples and black.
(v) That the piece be given a formal repetitive structure to imply that these contemporary climate change issues are due to the intervention of the human species.
(vi) That the historical events and contemporary issues be acknowledged as two independent eras but to be unified as a single artwork highlighting the on-going evolutionary processes on our planet.
(vii) That an extinct end-Permian species - a trilobite - be represented in the piece.
(viii) That a newly evolved fish species be represented in the piece.
(ix) That the two represented species have a unique and ‘fleeting’ presence on the piece - to depict the loss of one species and the possible future loss of the newly evolved species.
(x) That the fabric used for the piece would be light enough so that it could move in a gentle breeze and reference the movement of waves. Due to its light weight it should also reference the fragility of ocean species.

After much research the concepts for items (i) - (v) were encapsulated after hours of drawings, colour studies, photography and design elements working with computer software programs until the desired effects were achieved. The images were then printed on a three and a half metre fabric length.

The solution for concept/item (vi) was achieved by splitting the artwork into two separate sections and then joining them with a hand stitched lutrador panel to depict the extinction timelines.

For concept/item (vii) a trilobite was chosen as the extinct end-Permian species.

For concept/item (viii) a seahorse was chosen as the newly evolved fish species.

For concept/item (ix) that the images be screenprinted in gold foil at varying sizes to depict a unique and visually ‘fleeting’ presence on the piece as well as convey a sense of the ‘treasures’ that the ocean contains.

For concept/item (x) Silky Faille was the fabric chosen to reference both the fragility of ocean species and the movement of waves.

Images of the ArtCloth Work - Fleeting

Fleeting - Full View
Marie-Therese’s digitally designed and printed fabric length, silkscreened and hand stitched employing gold foil, lutrador and cotton thread on silky faille.
Size: 60 cm wide x 306 cm high.

Fleeting - Top Section View.

Fleeting - Bottom Section View.

Fleeting – Detail View of the top and bottom sections joined with a hand stitched lutrador panel.

Fleeting - Detail View of a silkscreened gold foil seahorse image.

Fleeting - Detail View of a silkscreened gold foil trilobite image.

[2] ‘Mass extinction led to many new species of bony fish’. Heritage Daily, independent online science publication by Heritage Gateway, December 2014.

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