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On Salt, Seaweed, and Disappearing Places - Christina Conklin

Friday, March 04, 2022 12:36 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


March 4, 2022

On Salt, Seaweed, and Disappearing Places

Susan Hoffman Fishman for Artists & Climate Change

California-based artist, writer, and researcher Christina Conklin grew up spending summers along the coast of Oregon where she first developed a relationship with and understanding of the ocean as “an infinite vessel” of ever-changing and interconnected living systems. For the last 12 years, her artwork has explored the intersection of art, science, and spirituality as it relates to the sea. 

Conklin’s career path prior to her current focus as an artist and writer on the ocean in the context of the climate crisis, included work in the publishing and non-profit sectors, after which she became a full-time textile artist and freelance writer. Acknowledging her background in textiles, she admits that all of her artwork has what she calls “textility,” an inherent textural quality. It also incorporates her long-time interest in spirituality and philosophy, which she attributes to her background as an undergraduate religious studies major at Middlebury College in Vermont.


Apophacy, glass vessel, hanging wire, 12 gallons of water, 8 pounds of salt, 13 ft. diameter, 2014

From 2012-2014, during her MFA program at California College of the Arts, Conklin created process-based, ephemeral works that combined scientific experimentation with artmaking and contemplative practice. For these pieces, she used salt and water as her primary media, which she applied directly onto the floor. In Apophacy (see photo above), for example, the salt and water mixture created a rough, almost bubbly surface, like a primordial mix, thick in some areas and thin in others. From above, the floor-based installation had a globe-like appearance, suggesting bodies of water and land formations. Its title references a theological term for “the ineffable nature of that which could be called sacred and the unsaying of all the words that so often fail to approach its description.”

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