SUBSISTENCE (Red Tide)
2018, coiled and woven earthenware
Purchased by Flaten Art Museum through a gift from Arlyss Roeber Becker ’59
As one of Courtney Leonard’s works that comprise her larger project, BREACH, this box trap is inspired by the oyster traps that she came across during her residency in Long Island, New York. Leonard’s process involves observations and memories of experiencing places firsthand. The memory of encountering the striking enamel colors of the oyster box traps from the Montauk Pearls oyster hatchery informed the use of bright red in this piece. Oysters hold an important role in filtering Montauk waters that are threatened by nitrogen overflow. Yet, if the ecosystem itself is sick, how can subsistence on organisms within it sustain us? The title SUBSISTENCE itself leads to the larger question Leonard poses in this piece, which asks, where is our collective responsibility for sustainable food practices?
Natalia Granquist ‘21