environmental art

Courtney Mattison: Sculptured Reefs

Courtney Mattison is an internationally recognized artist and ocean advocate working to inspire the conservation of our changing seas. She hand sculpts intricately detailed ceramic works inspired by the fragile beauty of ocean ecosystems—primarily coral reefs—and the human-caused threats they face. Above: Confluence (Our Changing Seas V) glazed stoneware + porcelain, 846 x 570 x 50 cm

Our Changing Seas III, glazed stoneware + porcelain, 305 x 427 x 50 cm. Below: Detail of the work.

“I hope that the idea of one small person creating such huge, intricately detailed ceramic sculptural installations causes viewers to realize just how important reefs are to me, and to become curious enough to learn more about how the ocean is important to them,” Mattison says.

Not only does the chemical structure of my work parallel that of a natural reef, but brittle porcelain anemone tentacles and stoneware coral branches break easily if improperly handled, similar to the delicate bodies of living reef organisms – artist statement, Confluence

Our Changing Seas IV, glazed stoneware + porcelain, 335 x 518 x 55 cm

Mattison says reefs are so threatened by greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and overfishing that scientists agreethey may cease to function by the end of this century. “As an ocean “artivist” (artist-activist) with a background in marine ecology, I believe art impacts our emotions and can move us to value the blue planet we live on in ways that scientific data often cannot. (Below: Detail, Our Changing Seas IV)

Born in 1985 and raised in San Francisco, Mattison received an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts degree in marine ecology and ceramic sculpture from Skidmore College in 2008 and a Master of Arts in environmental studies from Brown University with coursework at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

Read more on her website, here.

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