SEA – EARTH DAY 2021 with Richard and Judith Lang
“The river is within us, the sea is all about us…” says T.S. Eliot in the Four Quartets. The inner waters of our souls are as vital as the water of the planet. By allowing the creative flow-paying attention to the “small voices” artists nourish and replenish the inner waters. If we’re lucky, the work we do goes deep enough to touch the common aquifer and add to the spring.
When we gazed upon those first photographs of earth transmitted back from space, we wondered why the planet was ever named EARTH. Given the land-to-ocean ratio we thought it far better to call the place SEA.
Seventy percent of our planet’s surface is covered with ocean with depths that scale far deeper than the height of Mt Everest. It is a vast frontier. Ocean currents are the pulse blood driving the winds and the weather. Nutrient rich upwellings and estuaries produce equivalents to agricultural zones. Yet, sadly, each year, three times as much trash ends up in the world’s oceans as the weight of fish caught. In the United States, an estimated 29 million tons of plastic is thrown away annually and since only a small percentage is recycled, much goes to the landfill and much goes to the oceans.
Since 1999 Richard Lang and Judith Lang, as a collaborative team, have been visiting Kehoe Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California. They have rambled 1000 meters of tideline of this one beach hundreds of times to gather plastic debris washing out of the Pacific Ocean and from this one beach have collected over two tons of material. By carefully collecting and “curating” the bits of plastic, they fashion it into works of art that matter-of-factly show, with minimal artifice, the material as it is.