Go to the ArtPrize mobile app.
ArtPrize has a new mobile app for 2021! Learn more here.

Low Tide/High Tide/Red Tide: Our New Binding Reality. The Constraints of Consequence.

Cynthia Kerby's avatar Cynthia Kerby

If PVC pipes, drainage covers, coral reefs, and hand-sewn acrylic canvas corsets are unconventional materials, they make for a rare combination of art objects in my installation. This is the second in my environmental call-to-awareness series that is articulated in a restrictive garment, the corset—which compresses the body’s shape for necessary support, expressing the constraints of consequence imposed by the result of industrial production. The modesty panel on the back of the painted corset (by Holly White) shows a live coral reef that drastically becomes bleached as it wraps the body. A binding choker around the neck is made with found vintage coral used in jewelry and home accessories. Through the process of experimentation with industrial objects, using pipefitting tools to create corset busks, these exposed pipes act as clasps to tighten the corset and shape the body to its desired form. Joining a fractured and bleached coral reef, and dripping toxins at either end thereby playing a dominant role of restriction by being in full view to reveal the industry’s standards of indifference. Red tides are dead zones in our oceans. These harmful algal blooms are triggered by industrial production and generate potent neurotoxins that are deadly to marine life while being harmful to humans. They are lasting longer and growing in size, and they continue to decrease the oxygen levels in water by creating a gas that affects central nervous systems and which causes a severe chronic respiratory illness. Coral reefs are vital for the oceans’ health and our ecosystem, but are now becoming endangered due to these global environmental stressors, and they are dying. Florida’s reefs are vulnerable to bleaching as a result of pollution from growing red tides and by land-based industry, agricultural run-off, septic tank discharges, toxic waste dumping, plastic litter, and Co2 emissions that cause our oceans’ temperatures to rise. These conditions are forever altering the health and resources of our waterways, causing serious environmental consequences. Our new binding reality.

Entry Details
  • Art form: Installation
  • Depth: 55 inches
  • Medium: acrylic on canvas, fabric, paper, metal, plastic, rubber, wire, coral, bone, and dyed bamboo
  • Width: 50 inches
  • Year created: 2019
  • Height: 77 inches