Level Up!

Dates:

November 21, 2020 - December 24, 2020

Overview:

A sculptural view of sea level rise by MarinMOCA's Artist In Residence

 

Residents of Southern Marin may have seen a magical horizon of black and white obelisks rising from the flooded marshes of Mill Valley and Sausalito. It’s not a mirage. They are field study models of sculptures that call attention to the rising sea waters around us. Ceramicist and sculptor Jeff Downing has been MarinMOCA’s resident artist for the past year. His examination of this environmental threat is the inspiration for this current exhibition “Level up! A Sculptural View of Sea Level Rise.”

Mr. Downing explains “My project’s purpose is to call attention to rising ocean levels, question our preconceptions of climate change, and help communities to visualize the potential impact on coastal environments. As part of my Aqua Metric Sea level Rise series, I am using the aesthetic appeal of large-scale ceramic sculpture, which gages tidal levels and marks the inundation of commercial and residential property in Marin.”

Sea level rise is progressively impacting the earth regardless of how strongly we curtail the use of fossil fuels. According to data compiled by the California Coastal Commission, San Francisco Bay is projected to see a rise between 1.1 and 2.7 feet by 2050. Water levels can rise even higher when augmented by storms and periodic King Tides (the highest naturally occurring tides), potentially causing great damage and loss of our coastline and coastal property.

MarinMOCA Executive Director Nancy Rehkopf sums it up, “This project ties together the scientific and creative worlds in a highly visual form which we hope brings the threat of climate change and the resulting sea level rise to the forefront of our conversations about life in Marin County.”

Gallery visitors will view Mr. Downing’s Aqua Metric Markers and will see photos of the portable versions installed during recent King Tides in southern Marin. The public will also see photos of previous sculptures which have been placed in flood waters in six separate locations in Marin. Photos of the flooded markers were posted online through the California Coastal Commission’s King Tides Project app. Explanatory text will provide more information about our current sea rise issues in Marin. Viewers will also enjoy other work completed during the MarinMOCA residency including a wall sculpture called “Rise Abovid” and large ceramic sentinel dogs.

Artist Bio

Originally from New York State, Jeff Downing spent his childhood growing up on the New England Coast. His creative beginnings were in music. He studied guitar and music composition at State University of New York at Purchase. This was the place where he encountered his first ceramics class. Soon after, drawn to the spirit of experimentation and nonconformity that characterizes ceramic art in California, he moved to San Francisco in 1983 with the proverbial suitcase and guitar in hand. He attended the Academy of Art, San Francisco to study painting, photography, and ceramics. He then went on to earn his graduate degree from San Francisco State University in 1992.

Downing has been teaching college level art classes since 1995. Both a skilled potter and sculptor, he teaches a wide spectrum of ceramics courses with a specialized knowledge in large-scale clay fabrication, installation, glaze formulation, kilns and atmospheric firing processes.

Known for his figurative sculptures and large-scale public and environmental art projects, Downing’s work is highly articulated with coat patterns and colors that help abstract their figuration, imparting the sculptures with a sense of the emblematic. The loose, expressive gestures that generate from Jeff’s working process further bolster this notion so that the figures succeed in pointing outside of themselves to broader concepts relating to human thought and emotion. Despite its ability to convey emotional states both uplifting and solemn, Downing’s work exudes a sense of humor.

Jeff’s work has been presented in Brazil, Mexico, Europe, and the United States. He exhibits in galleries, museum collections, public art venues, wineries, and private art collections throughout the country. Downing has received several awards for his work by nationally prominent art curators and art directors in the field of sculpture. Jeff lives and works in his studio in San Rafael, California. In his free time, he continues to compose music and occasionally performs live.

Level Up!

Dates:

November 21, 2020 - December 24, 2020

Overview:

A sculptural view of sea level rise by MarinMOCA's Artist In Residence