Nedret Andre new paintings, Seagrass: ecological engineers
Nedret Andre Artist Statement:
Seagrass meadows are made up of a group of flowering plants that are unique in their ability to thrive submerged in salty seawater. As ecosystem engineers they create habitat and produce food for countless species, sequester a remarkable amount of carbon, and help maintain the health of neighboring estuaries, mangroves, coral reefs, and other ecosystems. They are home to commercial fisheries, which provide food for billions of people. Every hour we are loosing two football fields of seagrass.
My abstract landscapes are inspired by the sensations of life within seagrass beds; the color, the energy, and interconnectedness of species. Through my research and collaborations with marine ecologists. I try to synthesize knowledge gained with being outdoors planting seagrass for example into a similar atmosphere, sound or movement in my work. I love translating sensations of light, or the way seagrass sways into an abstract design. In Bridge to Babel for example, I started with color, line and mark making. As the painting evolved form light washes of diluted oil paint, an abstracted shore started to appear. Each time I would come into the studio a new shape started to emerge. I worked on this painting in the round, constantly rotating it. The charcoal line appears and disappears at different points creating implied connections from one shore to the next. The light in this painting is inspired from harvesting seagrass in Gloucester, first time I got up early and was awestruck by the magnificent light. This painting is about the importance of honoring the biodiversity we have right on our shores. Seagrass habitats provide housing for thousands of sea animals, as well as shoreline protection for us. Bridge to Babel pays homage to Peter Bruegel’s Tower of Babel where it to was stopped from being completed. The tower symbolizes the importance of respecting our differences (having multiple languages) both culturally and with biodiversity. Once seagrass meadows are polluted, this amazing life supporting ecosystem all die. It takes over 100 years to re-establish seagrass beds
Held Together is an underwater hub where many exchanges occur simultaneously. The organic shapes have edges that become distinct and then shift into the next shape, creating energetic flutters. This experience is similar to what occurs underwater when I snorkel in eelgrass meadows, there is this wonderful swaying movement created by lots of micro movements. I try to visually capture this rich diversity of colors, shapes and movement in my paintings.
My sculptural pieces with Text and Here are made from actual seagrass. Last summer I collected actual eelgrass that washed ashore and experimented with preserving them. I wanted wave like movements made with translucent layers of paper with my Text installation. The idea of text, again references my fascination with language, communication and translations. How do we read these scrolls? What about the material quality and fragility of the seagrass? If we could decipher what the seagrass language was what would we learn from them?