Artist statement — Chi Meredith.
I am a professional artist and also a retired oceanography research assistant.
When asked to contribute to the da Vinci Days project, I anticipated making a two-dimensional oil painting of the beautiful photographs Dr. Angelicque White took of plankton gathered from the ocean. However, while in North Carolina last winter, I saw a unique “bottle-holder” in a thrift shop and knew it would be perfect for this project.
Back home in Corvallis, I tried several objects that might fit in the sixteen spaces in the holder, and discovered that 250mL plastic Nalgene® bottles were a perfect fit. I went to the lab where I used to work, and asked for some old bottles that were doomed to be recycled. The bottles had even possibly been used to sample water in places like Antarctica or the Indian Ocean or off the Oregon coast.
I painted the bottles and the holder with black spray paint, and then, using oil paints, I painted each bottle, inspired by the images from Dr. White’s website and from my own memories of many cruises. I painted the holder with acrylic paints and filled the bottles with ground white coral.
The finished work symbolizes the science involved in the collection of samples for understanding life in our great oceans, as well as the art in the beauty of the microorganisms which are being studied.
Corvallis, Oregon 2012
For other works submitted to the Art of Plankton show, see Forms from the Sea.