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The Marginal World: Jellies

  is, in part, inspired by an early work of Rachel Carson, The Edge of the Sea (1955). Repurposing military parachutes into large, billowing sculptures that hang from the ceiling, the structures become oversized jellyfish floating in the space. This play of scale renders the human observer small, thus reversing the size between us in nature. Moving gently in the air, the Jellies take on a supernatural feeling of grace and beauty, contrasting with our human oxygen-based environment, as if it was in reverse to that of the ocean. Temporality and spatiality are re-thought as the viewer moves through the space. "Scale is something that is constantly being remade" (K. Barad). Based on earlier sculptural installations installed on Prague’s Vltava riverbank, (Water Enough for One Root, 1995) these works echo floral structures in the invertebrate world of underwater creatures, or suggest nuclear clouds floating in an 'apocalyptic sublime' (Shapiro/Opondo*).


LEFT: Cyaneidae family (Blue Fire) from The Marginal World: Jellies Series, 2023 repurposed parachute fabric (polyester silk), watercolor, fishing line, foundplastic, seaweed, flotsam from the beach, wire.

RIGHT: Aurelia Aurita (Moon Jelly) . sizes variable

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Discovery through physical endurance and passionate dedication is a philosophical connection between the artworks in this exhibition. In a variety of ways, the artists tackle their relationship with the ocean from personal, global, and political viewpoints. In connection with each of the artists exhibited, the urgency of this moment is balanced by a simultaneous surge of creative expression. The crisis we undergo propagates a human need in us to convey, create, and hopefully correct. The processes of artmaking open our understanding by prompting and clarifying. As an artist, one goes through a metamorphosis. The viewer is the recipient of the result, and in turn, empowered to be an active agent of that focused energy. 

Kim Abeles, Guest Curator
Kellogg University Art Gallery
Cal Poly Pomona

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 In 2022, Kim Abeles, was invited by AltaSea to curate an exhibition for their 2023 Blue Hour, a   yearly fundraiser for educational programming focused on youth and community. Located in San Pedro at the Port of Los Angeles, between the Battleship USS Iowa and Fort MacArthur in Point Fermin — not far from the Angel’s Gate Cultural Center, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and the Korean Friendship Bell— AltaSea is a remarkable ocean research and innovation institute focusing on regenerative aquaculture, renewable energy, blue technology and underwater robotics. Partnering with scientists, educators and commercial entities, AltaSea’s volunteers and staff educate through art and science about our relationship to the ocean, and its importance to the health and future of the planet:

AltaSea is dedicated to accelerating scientific collaboration, advancing an emerging blue economy through business innovation and job creation,and inspiring the next generation, all for a more sustainable, just and equitable world.

...We will turn to the ocean to develop solutions for some of the planet’s most pressing challenges, such as climate change, energy supply and global food security – and prepare today’s generation of students for future jobs in science, technology, engineering, business and the ocean.

AltaSea Mission & Vision Statement


* the "nuclear sublime" is one of the concepts discussed in the upcoming book by Michael J. Shapiro and Sam Okoth Opondo, "Passages: on Geo-analysis and the aethestics of precarity", (Manchester University Press, 2024) with my artwork collaboration with Enrique Leal. See more graphics and info on this project HERE:

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