Sally S. Fine’s recent sculpture embraces oceanic phenomena through the lens of climate change and consequences our seas suffer at the hands of contemporary human activity. These phenomena link the global and the personal, as well as the past and future of our oceans. The title of her 2019 exhibition, Patient Seas, refers to the critical conditions in our seas today, afflicted with a pandemic of dead and dying coral reefs. With more than 70% of the earth’s surface composed of oceans, the demise of these ocean nurseries through ocean acidification and global warming means we have an ailing planet indeed.
Fine’s decade-long exploration of ocean phenomena has inspired her to bring together new media and technologies. In works such as Pangea and Ocean Life Lines, she repurposes glass flotation balls, originally used for research by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, transforming them into globes. The interiors are constructed of stained glass while the graphic mapping of the exterior is etched or painted. Electroluminescent wire traces the ocean circulation. Other constructions of glass, copper and brass present a more lyrical connection between the earth, atmosphere and seas. The large installation “Goddess Eva with her creation Eve” includes a video featuring Fine’s tale of a new creation myth.