Oakland-based artist Tanja Geis has teamed up with Smithsonian researchers for her multimedia exhibition, Lurid Ecologies: Ways of Seeing the Bay. Born out of a collaboration with scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s Tiburon laboratory, Lurid Ecologies explores efforts to monitor, conserve, and restore the Bay’s native oyster, Ostrea lurida. Geis works at the intersection of visual art and ecology, and her exhibit at the Embark Gallery includes oneiric drawings made using pigment from the Bay’s mud, a 3-channel video installation, and assemblages of tools used to study marine life. This exhibit will be free and open to the public from July 28 to August 19.
Lurid Ecologies: Ways of Seeing the Bay is part of the R&D Projects exhibition at Embark Gallery. Artist Christopher Nickel will also present his installation A Few Select Bits of All Knowledge: A Visual Archive. For more information, see the exhibition event page, or read the extended description of Geis’ work below.
Lurid Ecologies: Ways of Seeing the Bay
Geis has partnered with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) to develop an exhibition responding to their work monitoring, conserving and restoring the San Francisco Bay. For Embark, Geis reimagines the substrates set in the bay for colonization by Ostrea lurida, the native oyster, for a series of phantasmagoric drawings made using mud pigment from the Bay. These drawings are shown alongside a video installation, shot in research tanks at the Romberg Tiburon Center, and a collection of tools used to measure ecosystem health.
Ostrea lurida. Lurid oyster. The etymology of “lurid” is uncertain yet some of its earliest uses referred to the interplay of light and darkness, the aspect of things when the sky is overcast, the color of smoky flames, or perhaps the appearance of sunlight filtered through silty Bay waters. These works consider the vitally important, complex, and often turbid endeavor of SERC’s research, and its techniques and apparatus, to address how scientific and aesthetic framing of complex ecologies inform how we look and what goes unseen.
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