At first, Colorado based artist Courtney Mattison, who describes herself as a visual learner, began sculpting her elaborate works inspired by sea creatures as a better way of understanding them. But over time, her love and admiration for these organisms evolved into a message about their well being and preservation. Previously featured here on our blog, Mattison hopes that her ceramic sculptures and installations, based on her own photographs of different organisms living in coral reefs, will inspire others to appreciate the beauty of the ocean as she does.
If we continue spewing pollution into the atmosphere, our climate will only continue to change, and the oceans will be very different than they are today. Ocean temperatures will rise, and with that, rising PH levels will make the water more acidic. It’s simple chemistry and a sad fact. So how do we solve this problem? Artist and ocean advocate Courtney Mattison has made it the mission of her ceramic sculptures to remind us of the ocean’s beauty and inspire preservation. Her “Changing Seas ” series, previously featured on our blog, is Mattison’s first major work towards this goal.
Courtney Mattison’s ceramics are clearly inspired and motivated by the ocean — that immense, powerful and precious resource whose details are still largely hidden from us. Self-identifying as both an artist and “ocean advocate,” Mattison has created massive installations, “Our Changing Seas, I-III,” that cover a bio-diverse selection of coral reef forms. Displayed in a gallery, the pieces appear to grow out of the wall, as if miraculously alive in the dry, alien atmosphere. The ceramic medium allows for remarkable ranges in color, spanning the spectrum of actual living coral to the bone-dry, matte whiteness of its dead state. Both versions are present in Mattison’s pieces, reminding us that these entities are desperately in need of preservation. “Our Changing Seas III” is currently on view at the Tang Museum at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.