“What Remains”
Sherry Insley
A solo exhibition of photography and mixed media

May 2nd, 2024

May 16th, 2024 6-9PM

On View May 2nd…

Cotyledon Arts // Dear Globe Coffee
422 W. Mulberry Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Artist Statement

The Ghost Forest series is an ongoing photographic documentation begun in the summer of 2022. Depicting the emergence of ghost forests along the mid-Atlantic coasts, particularly in the DelMarVa area. When salt water is pushed inland into freshwater ecosystems due to storms, rising sea level, and climate change, the salinity of the soil becomes too high. The Atlantic White Cedar is particularly susceptible to the high salinity, and is the first species to die. The skeletal white trunks standing against lush landscape are sounding the alarm of a changing climate. This stark contrast is both beautiful and disconcerting, creating visual and literal gaps in the density of the forest. My hope for this project is to bring visibility to this pernicious consequence of climate change. The large scale photographs are dramatic and meant to hold the viewer’s attention with their size and contrast. I expect to expand this series into a large body of work that calls attention to this situation and asks the viewer to reflect on the loss of tree species, farmable soil, increased flooding and climate change overall. I hope to engage with people who are aware of the more overt dangers of climate change, but may not have knowledge of this specific consequence. The communities that live, work and visit our coastal areas may pass ghost forests regularly, but may not realize what they are indicative of.

My work with historical alternative processes such as lumen printing and anthotypes, further examines the relationship of photographic images with time and impermanence. The prints cannot be fixed with traditional darkroom chemistry, which is decidedly not environmentally friendly, and will fade away in ambient light. In the Ebb project, I collect seaweed, plant material, and found objects from the areas near ghost forests. I contact print onto photographic paper leaving the translucent silhouettes, and attempt to stabilize the images with saltwater. Here salt water is an agent of preservation rather than destruction.

The Threshold series captures temperature inversions over the ocean that create a sense of being unmoored due to the obscured horizon. It is an absence of footing, and a feeling of disorientation. This atmospheric phenomenon and feeling of uncertainty are temporary, as the horizon vanishes and then reappears. In Untethered a sound and image installation, I am revisiting images from Threshold, and replacing the disappearing visual information with sound. Using low frequencies, reverberations and higher pitched tones, I aim to influence the viewer’s sensory response to the images. This too is a temporal state of being as the images and sound fade in and out as the video loops.

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