Plastic, glass and other debris that washes up with the ocean tide have been transformed into new sculptural installations at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery.
Tracing Tides is an exhibition by Edmonton artist Lyndal Osborne that invites visitors to reflect on human interference in the natural environment.
Osborne has walked along the shores of two different sides of the world: Murramarang National Park on the east coast of New South Wales, Australia, and Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland.
Each time, she found pieces of debris.
The multimedia artist took this material, including the telephone wire, crab and lobster strips, and gave it new context and meaning in his work.
Some of the detritus that the oceans have left behind and which Osborne later turned into sculptural installations even resembles some of the beautiful ocean life found on reefs and seabeds.
Osborne explained that his work is not only about creating something new, but also about finding new meaning in objects and materials that already exist.
“This work represents a topographical view of the landscape(s) I encountered” around the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, she said.
“Rocky outcrops, sand dunes, river estuaries, rock pools, sandy and shingle beaches were the focus of my investigation. At each low tide, I examined the high tide lines and picked up various debris as it washed ashore.
Although some of the materials Osborne found were natural to the area, the shores were often “strewn with man-made rubbish”, sometimes from the fishing industry.
The artist, from Australia who now teaches art and design at the University of Alberta, felt it had a “particular poignancy” in Newfoundland where lobster flocks, crab traps wood, shotgun shells and discarded plastic reminded him of the impacts of overfishing.
The museum’s exhibits coordinator, Kim Verrier, said human-made waste in waterways often made headlines, along with images of straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags and of microplastics found in fish.
“As visitors explore the galleries, we encourage reflection and discussion about our impact on the environment,” added Verrier.
The exhibition is presented at the museum until September 6, with an opening on Friday June 3 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the presence of the artist.
Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery