Bodies of Water

Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery | UCSC Santa Cruz California | September 20 – December 3, 2022

Bodies of Water | Installations | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

The most common type of plankton, protists, are the ancestors of all plants and animals on earth, including us. We are sea creatures that have evolved to live on land, carrying our salt water with us in the bloodstream of our own private oceans. We came from the sea and we are still dependent on it for our survival. We are bodies of water.

Finding inspiration through exploration of the natural world has led to imagery of intricate planktonic skeletal structures that are too small to be seen with the naked eye, and to blooms of phytoplankton that are so large they can be seen from space swirling like a Van Gogh painting in the currents and tides. Translating these images of life below the ocean’s surface into abstracted ceramic works that are reminiscent of jellyfish, urchins and other varieties of plankton forces the once mysterious world of plankton to be perceived.

Discovering the importance of these tiny beautiful creatures and their role in our changing climate only deepens my attraction to them. This exhibit ties together science, environmentalism and art in the hopes of inspiring others to preserve, protect and enjoy our wild spaces.