Deep Water

14 October 2022 – 16 December 2022

Aude Bourgine, Zena Holloway, Julia Manning, Liz McGowan, Dawn Roe

The entire world is in Deep Water in many respects. Because of global warming sea levels are rising. This exhibition deepens our understanding.

There is increasing ocean acidification from pollution.
Marine eco-systems are suffering.
Biodiversity is being lost at sea as well as on land.

Human induced climate change is the main problem.

The latest IPCC Assessment report on climate change tells us that many of the losses in fresh water, as well as in coastal and open ocean marine systems, are already irreversible. Many coral reefs for example, bleached by ocean acidification and warming, have reached their limits and can no longer be healed. Coastal wetlands are under stress as seas rise and salt-water encroaches further into land.

This exhibition looks at the dangers under deep water. It shows some of the passionate concerns of artists about eco-systems and species which are under stress.

We need to see this work in order to know more and understand better.

Deep Water Julia Manning

Aiming to heal

Showing their work in Deep Water, are five artists whose impetus comes from seeing the pain of the oceans – but wanting to heal them. They all have specialist knowledge – of eco-systems, of species and of deep local and indigenous experience.They are drawing attention to the dangers and the degradation – but having an overriding impulse to repair. We will work together with you, our audience – to strengthen their impact. So join with us to watch and listen.

All the artists involved in this exhibition are women. It has almost happened by accident – but then maybe not. According to the latest IPCC assessment report on climate change, women are among the traditionally marginalised groups, and under-represented in climate debates. But surely as an equal majority of the world’s population their voices ought be strongly present. Here in this exhibition are works by women who are professional, knowledgeable, and passionately concerned with the issues they represent.

The plight of the eel: Julia Manning

Deep Water Julia Manning eels

The eel is a migratory species which has suffered dramatically over the last 10 years. Julia Manning’s extraordinary print series about the terrible plight of the eel makes us realise that we are witnessing a species extinction under our very noses. The exhibition will give much more detail about this in due course – how it is not just climate change which is causing eel decline and death . During their migratory journeys eels are killed by pollution, and the power of waters around pumping stations, weirs, nuclear power plants and hydropower stations.

Coral reef bleaching: Zena Holloway and Aude Bourgine

The latest IPCC report states that because of global warming and ocean acidification many coral reefs have already reached the limits of their ability to regenerate. In their healthy state they have a symbiotic relationship with algae which feed from them and give them their colour. During extremes of heat which are increasing, the coral expels the algae and gradually dies. The bleaching is a sign. This is an entirely human-induced poisoning of the environment. You can read more about it here.

London-based artist and bio-designer Zena Holloway , also a former deep ocean diver and photographer, has direct experience of coral bleaching and is horrified by it. She is using an innovative technique, growing fibres in a special controlled environment, with which she makes her sculptures. In an extraordinary way they echo the forms of coral, both physically and metaphorically.

Deep Water Aude Bourgine
Aude Bourgine, Textile Reef, photograph © Fred Margueron

Equally highlighting the bleaching of coral reefs is Rouen-based artist, Aude Bourgine. She also works in an innovative way with recycled textile materials, creating new coral-like forms in dramatic installations.

In both cases, Zena’s and Aude’s works, made on dry land, with soft and dry materials, show how art can operate both physically and metaphorically, working both on memory and association. They both evoke an imaginative world of coral in a way that is resourceful and clever. But perhaps all the more hard-hitting because of the poetry of their making.

Coastal wetlands and northern waters: Liz McGowan

Deep Water Liz McGowan shadow
Liz McGowan coastal shadow plant

Norfolk-based Liz McGowan looks closer to home at the local coastal wetland habitats, limestone reefs and their eco-systems. Currently they are protected but still, we need to be vigilant. The work of a sensitive artist like her can help us take notice. Her delicate new drawings and rubbings and reliefs come from her direct experience in the environment.

Human and non-human interactions with deep water: Dawn Roe

Deep Water Dawn Roe

Dawn Roe, based between Florida and the Great Lakes Lake Michigan, has a long term interest in bodies of water, relationships with indigenous Indian peoples and their knowledge, and between human and more than human communities associated with the waters.

Artistic responses to Deep Water

Climate change is coming as a result of human bad habits

Increasingly we know that underlying the problems of climate change are human bad habits.
over -consumption
All have led to climate change.

In looking at artistic responses to major ocean wildlife and habitat decline, we are looking for rays of hope. Not only do the artists show us the beauty in danger, but that creates in us as the viewer the desire to engage, to be involved, to be concerned. Our increased knowledge will lead to greater engagement – and that will be the beginning of our real impetus to change our habits as consumers – and as humans interacting more knowledgeably and carefully with nature.