Turn the Tide: Courtney Mattison

JULY 13th – OCTOBER 31st

Highfield Hall and Gardens is pleased to collaborate with the Marine Biological Laboratory to bring artist Courtney Mattison to Falmouth for a unique summer 2021 exhibition.

Turn the Tide explores the delicate beauty of coral reefs through the eyes of Los Angeles-based artist and ocean advocate, Courtney Mattison. Mattison hand-crafts intricately detailed and large-scale ceramic sculptural works drawing from her background in marine conservation biology and policy. Her glazed stoneware and porcelain wall reliefs and sculptural objects translate concepts from climate science into aesthetically compelling forms, bringing the exuberance and fragility of coral reefs above the surface and into view. Turn the Tide at Highfield Hall and Gardens includes a site-sensitive adaptation of Mattison’s 2019 work, Malum Geminos, which explores the dual threats of climate change and ocean acidification that are causing coral reefs to sicken, bleach and erode into the sea. The artist specially adapted pieces from this wall relief for installation in the Beebe Gallery alongside selections from her Fossil Fuels and Hope Spots series. In addition to highlighting the human-caused threats faced by coral reefs, Turn the Tide celebrates the beauty of these unique marine ecosystems and aims to inspire hope and action.

Mattison believes “we protect what we care about and we care about what we know and understand. Art can bring the beauty and peril of coral reefs above the surface and into view and can inspire us to protect the ocean”

Left: Fossil Fuels: Oil Can I, 2014. Image by Courtney Mattison.
Center:  Malum Geminos, 2019. Image by Paul Mutino for the Florence Griswold Museum.
Right: Hope Spots: Outer Seychelles II, 2015. Image by Courtney Mattison

Mattison has been commissioned internationally for permanent collections including those of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta and Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Endurance ship. Her exhibition history includes solo shows at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and the U.S. Department of Commerce headquarters. In 2020, the U.N. Postal Administration published Mattison’s work on a stamp to commemorate Earth Day. Born in 1985 and raised in San Francisco, Mattison received a BA in marine ecology and ceramic sculpture from Skidmore College in 2008 and an MA in environmental studies from Brown University with thesis credits at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011. Her work has been featured by Smithsonian Magazine, Good Morning America, Oprah Magazine and the BBC. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

For more information on the artist please see: https://courtneymattison.com/
The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is dedicated to scientific discovery – exploring fundamental biology, understanding biodiversity and the environment, and informing the human condition through research and education. Founded in Woods Hole, Massachusetts in 1888, the MBL is a private, nonprofit institution and an affiliate of the University of Chicago.

This exhibition was made possible through the generous support of the Brabson Library and Educational Foundation, the Martha’s Vineyard Bank Charitable Foundation, and the Woods Hole Foundation.