While parts of the Crochet Coral Reef were in the 2019 Venice Biennale, other works from the project were on show at Lehigh University Art Galleries in Bethlehem, PA.
In Venice, our two installations focused on the delicate natural history dimension of the project highlighting the bejeweled confections of our Bleached Reef, our Toxic Reef, and a selection of miniature coral Pod Worlds. At Lehigh, the show was framed around our six giant Coral Forest sculptures – three crafted from yarn and three from plastic – plus a newly updated version of our Branched Anemone Garden.
Where the yarn-based Coral Forests reference the organic beauty of living corals, the plastic Forests call attention to the post-modern present suffused with synthetics. These six timely sentinels – named after the Gorgons of Greek mythology: Medusa, Stheno, Eryali, Ea, Nin Imma and Chthulu, – stand as a surreal undersea grove inviting visitors into a space of contemplation at once joyous and tragic.
Nestled within the Forest was a vitrine housing our Branched Anemone Garden, a crocheted diorama inspired by the Great Barrier Reef, and by the blood-orange hues and paleolithic drama of central Australia’s Hamilton Range. For the Lehigh exhibition, the work was radically updated so that here it was shown in-the-round. This expanded version allows the piece to be viewed from a “perspectival point” at each end of the vitrine, enabling viewers to see the coraline landscape reflected in the plexiglass on both vitrine sides and in its ceiling. The effect is as if one is seeing the work simultaneously in the flesh and in 3 surrounding persepectives. Thus the viewer encounters 4 reefs at once.
– Branched Anemone Garden is loaned from the collection of Lisa Yun Lee. Coral Forest: Stheno is loaned from the collection of Jorian Polis Schutz.
Also included in the exhibition were two wall-mounted works: Latvian Isola by Tija Viksna & the Latvian Satellite Reef crafters, loaned from Tija Viksna & Gallery Consiento in Riga, Latvia; and Carnation Mound, crocheted by Marianne Midelburg & Sarah Simons and curated by Christine Wertheim.