’Driftwood is a critically important source of habitat and food for the marine ecosystem, including the deep-sea floor. Even during its seaward journey, driftwood is both habitat and a source of food for a multitude of plants and animals, both aquatic and terrestrial. In addition, some driftwood controls stream velocities, stabilizes stream banks, makes waterfalls and pools, and creates and protects fish spawning areas. Other driftwood protects the encroachment of vegetation on floodplains and allows forests to expand. In short, driftwood makes a vital contribution to the health of streams, rivers, estuaries, and oceans, not just in the Pacific Northwest but worldwide.’
Floated, paper cut-outs of animal forms in muted washes of blue, brown, black, and yellow are interspersed throughout the exhibition. Their fluid execution and informal installation are in stark contrast to the detailed renderings and precise placement of the driftwood artworks. Each silhouette is placed in close proximity to the Beaty collection to which it belongs, and also represents one of the many fauna and flora deeply tied to the ecology of driftwood.
The making and use of art materials from site-specific sources becomes an act of embodied engagement between the artist and the ecosystems that are reliant on driftwood. Drifted bark, spent sea grass, and charcoal from beach fires are made into inks, ground into paints, and then manipulated and modified by sea salt. The end result is work grounded in material research that aims to address issues of environmental conservation.