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Southwest School Of Art, San Antonio, Texas

Exhibition dates: February 12 - April 26, 2015

"Crochet Coral Forest" and "Branched Anemone Garden" at the Southwest School of Art, San Antonio, TX, 2015. Photo by Todd Johnson, courtesy Southwest School of Art.

During Spring 2015, the IFF's Crochet Coral Forest  was on exhibition at San Antonio's Southwest School of Art. Comprising six giant sculptures, the Coral Forest consists of three works in yarn, and three in plastic, metaphorically representing the dynamic tension between the organic and the anthropogenic in our changing ocean environment. 

Each sculpture stands between 8 and 10 feet tall, each a sentinel crafted through thousands of hours of human labor and meticulously assembled from hundreds of crochet pieces. As living reefs are made up from thousands of coral heads – these in turn the work of thousands of polyps cooperating together – so works in the IFF's Crochet Coral Reef are complex ecologies fabricated over years of accumulative labor by communities of people. Where the yarn reefs represent the slow beauty of nature, forged through eons, the plastic reefs reference the increasingly dominant powers of humanity, and the synthetic-saturated future we are rapidly bringing into being. Crafted from used plastic shopping bags, video tape, Saran wrap, bits of old hula hoop, cast-off toys, and other plastic detritus, these glittering monsters are constructed by Margaret and Christine Wertheim, and incorporate select pieces from the IFF's Core Reef Contributors.

Accompanying the Coral Forest  was the ever-playful Branched Anemone Garden, a dioramic installation inspired by the Great Barrier Reef and channeled through the ludic art of Dr. Suess. Also on display was an array of miniature Pod World vitrines, each a tiny coral landscape fashioned from pieces by some of the IFF's most skilled Reef contributors.

Contributors to this exhibition:
Crochet Coral Forest constructed by Margaret Wertheim and Christine Wertheim (Los Angeles), with pieces by Sarah Simons (CA), Anna Mayer (CA), Jemima Wyman (CA), Christina Simons (LA), Evelyn Hardin (TX), Helen Bernasconi (Australia), Marianne Midelburg (Australia), Helle Jorgensen (Australia), Barbara Wertheim (Australia), Ildiko Szabo (England), Heather McCarren (CA), Dr. Axt (VT), Anitra Menning (CA), Shari Porter (CA), Clare O’Callaghan (CA), Kathleen Greco (PA), Nadia Severns (NY), Arlene Mintzer (NY), Jill Schrier (NY), Pamela Stiles (NY), Siew Chu Kerk (NY), Irene Lundgaard (Ireland), Orla Breslin (Ireland), Una Morrison (Ireland), Sally Giles (IL), Pate Conaway (IL), David Orozco (CA), Ann Wertheim (Australia), Elizabeth Wertheim (Australia), Katherine Wertheim (Australia), Lucinda Ganderton (UK), Beverly Griffiths (UK), Jane Canby (AZ), Jennifer White (AZ), Sharon Menges (AZ), Tane Clark (AZ), Nancy Youros (AZ), Gina Cacciolo (CA), Chantal Horeau (CA), Ying Wong (CA), and unknown Chinese factory workers.

Coral Pod-Worlds curated by Margaret and Christine, featuring pieces by: Sarah Simons (CA), Diana Simons (CA), Vonda N. McIntyre (WA), Sue Von Ohlsen (PA), Rebecca Peapples (MI), Mieko Fukuhara (Japan), Anita Bruce (UK), Gunta Jekabsone (Latvia), Jane Canby (AZ), Dagma Frinta (NY), and wire models by contributors to the Chicago Satellite Reef and the Irish Satellite Reef.

Gallery of Exhibition Photos - Southwest School of Art, 2015:

At Left: Coral Forest - Chthulu (made of video tape). At right: Coral Forest - Nin'imma (made of plastic shopping bags, Saran wrap, cable tiles and discarded plastic trash). At back are a row of Pod World Vitrines. Photo by Todd Johnson, courtesy Southwest School of Art, 2015.

Left: Coral Forest - Stheno (made of yarn and cable ties; from the collection of Jorian Polis Schutz). Middle: Coral Forest - Ea (made of plastic shopping bags, video tape, hula-hoops, plastic spades, cable tiles and discarded trash). Right: Coral Forest - Chthulu (made from video tape, tinsel and drinking straws.) Photo by Todd Johnson, courtesy Southwest School of Art, 2015.

Closeup of Coral Forest - Stheno (from the collection of Jorian Polis Schutz). At left: Coral Forest - Chthulu. Photo © Institute For Figuring, 2015.

Closeup of Coral Forest - Chthulu (made of video tape, tinsel, and drinking straws). At left: Coral Forest - Stheno (from the collection of Jorian Polis Schutz) and at back, Branched Anemone Garden (from the collection of Lisa Yun Lee.) Photo © Institute For Figuring, 2015.

At Left: Coral Forest - Ea. Middle: Coral Forest - Nin'imma.  At right: Coral Forest - Medusa (made of yarn, videotape and cable ties). Photo by Todd Johnson, courtesy Southwest School of Art, 2015.

At Left: Coral Forest - Nin'imma.  At right: Coral Forest - Medusa. Photo by Todd Johnson, courtesy Southwest School of Art, 2015.