Katie Bennett-Rice

Art and Design – ‘Kelp’

“Life in the world is not just eating berries in the sunlight. I like to imagine a depth ecology that would go to the dark side of nature…the tales of insatiable appetite” – Gary Snyder
My work critiques the value we impose upon the natural world, often dictated by beauty or resource potential, by bringing the overlooked and the ugly to the forefront in a ‘celebration’ of kelp. Exposing the complex ecosystems of kelp forests the drawings simultaneously appreciate its intrinsic ecological value and address environmental degradation in a balancing act paralleling marine growth and loss with the sprawling drawings and receding laser cuts.
Fieldwork visits across the UK informed the project of our past reliance on the ocean, from kelp as food to industry in its burning for iodine and ash whilst concepts from Rachel Carson and Gary Snyder encourage the unconventionally beautiful, visceral elements of the marine landscape. Snyder’s appreciation of nature for process over appearance is core to the concept prompting the viewer to revel in the darker powers of nature embodied in onshore kelp, uprooted in violent weather and rotting across shore lines, indicating the life beneath the surface

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