Back to All Events

Oceans Deep


We are delighted to present new works by Josie Iselin and Sharon Beals. In this exhibit, each addresses our ocean world from different vantage points, confronting issues both inspiring and thought provoking.

Josie Iselin is a San Francisco-based fine art photographer using her scanner to capture portraits of objects and organisms from our near-shore ocean universe. She is the photographer, author and designer of eight books published to the trade. Her writing and book development practice is deeply informed by the act of looking closely and her research into the science of intertidal habitats is imbedded into the weft of her art-making practice. Josie holds a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard and an MFA from San Francisco State University. Josie has used her flatbed scanner and computer exclusively for generating imagery for almost twenty-five years. She is still captivated by the fluidity with which this technique allows her to render and design with three-dimensional objects. Josie exhibits large-scale prints at select galleries and museums as well as at algal conferences. She designs architectural scale seaweed commissions and gives workshops on art & algae. She has also designed a line of seaweed-inspired scarves and shower curtains.

“After making a series of books on beach stones, seashells and sea glass, the world of marine algae (seaweed) opened up to me while building a book titled Beach: A Book of Treasure, published in 2010. I was exploring, visually, the realm of what we find at the beach and happened to hold a scrap of seaweed up to the sky. I was struck by a fabulousness of form and color that prompted me to return to the studio and put some seaweed on my scanner. In 2014 a visual primer on seaweeds, titled An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed, was published.  This book combines luminous portraits of these ‘intertidal heroes’ with thoughtful prose explaining their world and their life histories.Algal Dreams: Seaweed Stories from the Pacific Coast of North America, is the next project in the works. It is an ambitious combination of essays and historical as well as contemporary imagery, due to be published in 2019. This book chronicles the natural history as well as the history of science of fifteen iconic, Pacific coast seaweeds and kelps. A portfolio of images layering my contemporary scans onto historical lithographs of these specific seaweeds has evolved alongside the development the book. I am deeply influenced and humbled by the men and women who have been investigating the seaweeds before me, many generating some of the first imagery to bring these elusive, ocean-based organisms to human view. My hope is that bringing art and science together builds empathy with and for the seaweeds; that celebrating the ordinary wonders we find in the strip of ocean along our coast will bring thoughtfulness and stewardship to this extraordinary place of discovery.”  – Josie Iselin

Sharon Beals is the author and photographer of Nests: Fifty Nests and the Birds that Built Them. Besides the nests, she photographs wild native habitats and watersheds, and recently, coastal fault-lines. Responding to the issue of plastic ocean debris, she created photograms of plastic fragments to make large scale, deceptively beautiful yet confrontational images. Included in this show is her first video, an homage to the ocean that she created for this show.

“Time stops at the Ocean’s Edge. I stand at the cliff edge as incoming waves are volleyed back by the rocks below. Far from any silting river, on a clear day the reflected sky inks this confluence of deep and shallow water with pure blues and greens. Wind lifts the spray from a breaching whale, seals search the undulating shallows as oyster catchers and gulls loudly name their territories, and pelicans parade in prehistoric flight.Our dear ocean, home to so many species of life we only know a fraction, supporting the rare and rapidly disappearing in visible and invisible ways.”  – Sharon Beals

Earlier Event: June 16
Liana Steinmetz - The Generous Hours
Later Event: September 29
Common Ground