Sculpture Work — Watershed

I take great pleasure in the formal and sensual qualities of the natural world, as well as in the man-made one. In this body of work, I am investigating the crossover of material from the natural world and the man-made. There is a reciprocal relationship between man-made objects and natural forces. As we humans produce and cast-off goods, we have an effect on the natural world. In turn, the natural world has an effect on the world we have created.In this work—consisting of pieces made from petroleum-based foams collected from the San Gabriel river outlet, along with images of fungi—we can see evidence of this exchange: both petroleum-based foams found in the ocean, and fungi, impact the eco-systems. The foam collected from the ocean appears to be decomposing due to the alteration in its appearance. But the reality is that these foams only break into smaller and smaller pieces, ultimately taking at least 600 years to degrade. Meanwhile, these foams, as well as other petroleum-based products, are negatively impacting oceanic habitats.

Fungi are decomposers that play a powerful role shaping our world. Despite the inconveniences and hazzards that fungi can cause, they are crucial to maintaining ecological balance. Although fungi are associated with entropy, they actually work to breakdown material so that there is space and nutrients available for new life to flourish.

We are a part of the natural world, and yet we also affect it. We create, and also destroy. By focusing on petroleum-based products and fungi, I am exploring this contradiction. As humans, we have made a distinction between nature and ourselves. Thus, we need to be aware of the consequences of our own production. Around 80 percent of the trash found in the ocean got there through river outlets. Trash from Los Angeles and the surrounding areas enters the ocean from the San Gabriel and the LA rivers.

In this work, trash foam was collected from the San Gabriel river outlet and imbedded in a petroleum alternative, sugar cane-based foam. For four months I collected images from my compost bucket. Interested in the process decomposition and nutrient cycling, I documented the process of the breakdown of organic matter and of the growth of various fungal bodies.