Philadelphia artist Sara Bakken is inspired by sea life—its exotic colors and forms. Through her combined use of fabric and glass, Bakken re-imagines the beauty of ocean habitats. Her small-scale sculptures are accumulations of repeated elements that in mass create undulating forms, repetitive patterns, and organic shapes found in nature. The compositions emulate the landscape of the sea and its prolific ability to grow and regenerate.
Bakken's working method is partially intuitive as she allows the materials, textures, and patterning to guide her. But as her work builds and grows element by element she embeds intimate details into the forms.
This installation is based on an article by Juli Berwald "3 Degrees of Japan's Seas," published in National Geographic magazine, 2010. Berwald was amazed by the diversity of marine life in the more than 1,500 miles of water that surround Japan. "The waters off the coast vary from frigid to temperate to tropical. The marine life is uniformly extraordinary" and "embraces at least 3 distinct ecosystems."
Using 3 distinct palettes—neutrals; pink, red, orange; and variations in blue—Bakken recreates abstract versions of the aquatic life forms, the textures, and colors that might inhabit the 3 temperature zones that Berwald described. Bakken has said that her work is "equally about the visual imagery and the material process" while hoping to inspire viewers "to look closer at nature" and to value and preserve its beauty.