Sea Change/See Change
Chuckanut Sandstone (fossils 50 mya), 3 x 40 x 30’
Big Rock Sculpture Park, Bellingham, WA, 2009
Sea Change / See Change is a contemplative space evoking a profound connection to earth’s deep geologic time. It is a site-specific installation with ‘found’ materials, local fossil-filled Chuckanut sandstone, the remainders of a mountain landslide provided to the artist by the City of Bellingham Parks Department.
This installation is a three-dimensional form of the artist’s Zen enso ink calligraphic paintings. Stones are placed in two opposing curved forms in a gestural, asymmetrical oval shape with two openings, creating a sense of ‘holding, but not ‘capturing’. The installation is a koan: asking an unanswerable question, yet offering a path.
The stones are filled with 50,000,000 year old fossils of palm fronds and deciduous leaves and branches. “I am profoundly connected to eons of geologic process—to the earth’s deep geologic time—of continuing change and transformation—of my place in time.”
The title Sea Change first comes in Ariel’s evocative song in Shakespeare’s Tempest.
Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
The expression for this work has threefold implications: monumental transformation; the literal sense of sea change, in the fossils; and the current sense of the sea changing in today’s ecologic climate.
A vital part of the work was the collaborative nature of the actual building…from idea—to laptop computer—to field drawing—to choosing from available stones—to work and installation by City of Bellingham Parks Department. Perhaps the people who actually had their hands on it took away the most from the piece. Comments from installers and viewers:
“It’s hard being the artist’s brush.”
“It’s a dance with two elements.”
“There is a duality: separation and pulling together”.
“I was drawn back. I spent 10 years in a Buddhist monastery.”