Confluence (Our Changing Seas V) - CODAworx

Confluence (Our Changing Seas V)

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Client: Art in Embassies, U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia

Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $200,000

Project Team

Artist

Courtney Mattison

Courtney Mattison Studio LLC

Chief Curator

Virginia Shore

Art in Embassies, US Department of State

Curator

Claire D'Alba

Art in Embassies, US Department of State

Overview

By Courtney Mattison
2017-2018
Glazed stoneware + porcelain
846 x 570 x 50 cm (333 x 224 x 20 in)
Permanent Collection of the U.S. Embassy, Jakarta, Indonesia, Art in Embassies, U.S. Department of State.
Curated by Virginia Shore and Claire D’Alba.
Photos by Amanda Brooks, Art in Embassies.

This site-specific installation celebrates the fragile beauty, diversity and value of Indonesia’s vibrant reefs while highlighting the human-caused threats they face. Corals, anemones, sponges and other reef-dwelling invertebrates coalesce into a cyclone-like spiral with colorful healthy corals at the eye of the storm, their tentacles and branches dancing in the current. Toward the edges and tail of the swirling constellation, corals sicken and bleach, exposing their sterile white skeletons—a specter of what could be lost from climate change. Yet at its heart the reef remains healthy, resilient and harmonious. It is possible for coral reefs to recover even from the point of bleaching if we unite and act quickly enough to decrease the threats we impose. Perhaps if more people appreciate Indonesia’s spectacular reefs, we will act more wholeheartedly to preserve them for future generations.

Goals

This site-specific wall relief was commissioned for the two-story atrium of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was designed in response to the space to engage viewers from multiple levels, with a staircase and upper landing opposite the wall and a large skylight overhead.

Process

Artwork commissioned by State Department’s Office of Art in Embassies (AiE) for permanent installation in the new embassy in Jakarta. Worked with AiE Curators Virginia Shore and Claire D'Alba for design approval, budget and logistics. Consulted with State Dept. Overseas Building Operations on wall design, optimizing wall material and engineering for artwork design and weight estimates. Designed and fabricated artwork and oversaw installation with help from two professional art handlers.

Additional Information

Courtney Mattison hand-crafts intricate and large-scale sculptural works that visualize climate change through the fragile beauty of coral reefs. Her work has been commissioned internationally for permanent collections including those of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta and Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Endurance ship. Her exhibition history includes solo shows at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Lux Art Institute, where she was Artist in Residence. In 2020, the U.N. Postal Administration published Mattison’s work on a stamp to commemorate Earth Day. Born in 1985 and raised in San Francisco, Mattison received an interdisciplinary BA in marine ecology and ceramic sculpture from Skidmore College in 2008 and an MA in environmental studies from Brown University with thesis coursework at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011. Her work has been featured on the covers of American Craft, Beaux Arts Magazine and Brown Alumni Magazine, and by Smithsonian Magazine, Good Morning America, Oprah Magazine and BBC World Service. She lives and works in Los Angeles.