Albatross, by Ann Coddington
August 21 – October 3, 2023
Workshop: “Random Weave” guided by the artist. Tuesday, October 3, 12 - 3 pm. Registration needed. Contact Shahrbanoo.Hamzeh@Heartland.edu for more information.
Artist Talk: Tuesday, October 3, 3:30 – 4 pm, all welcome!
Reception: Tuesday, October 3, 4 - 6pm
In 'Albatross,' Coddington delves into the intricate relationship between humans and the environment, with a particular focus on the impact of plastic pollution. Through her meticulous use of traditional and contemporary fiber techniques such as twining, looping, lashing, and netting, she creates sculptural forms that allude to organic vessels, the human body, and natural and found objects. Her artworks invite viewers to contemplate their place in the world and their responsibility in shaping the environment.
Central to the exhibition is the concept of concealing plastic objects within traditional basketry forms. The works were inspired by Christopher Jordan’s disturbing photographs of the Midway Atoll albatross birds decomposing on the beach, revealing an abundance of plastic objects they had mistakenly eaten while skim-feeding. Coddington’s work recontextualizes discarded materials to shed light on the potential for repurposing and recycling. This act not only raises awareness about hidden environmental disasters and sustainable practices but also invites visitors to actively engage with the artwork, discovering hidden secrets through the x-ray photos displayed on the wall.
Through the juxtaposition of ancient basketry techniques and modern technology like x-ray photography, the exhibition highlights the delicate balance between human progress and ecological preservation. It symbolizes the clash between tradition and progress, natural and synthetic, underscoring the challenges faced by contemporary society. By exploring these dichotomies, viewers are prompted to reassess their own role in the environment and consider the potential for transformative changes, both individually and collectively. The show encourages reflection on the choices we make and the profound impact they have on the natural world. It provokes contemplation and fosters a sense of responsibility towards our planet.
This exhibition is organized by Shahrbanoo Hamzeh, Heartland Community College Gallery Coordinator.
Ann Coddington utilizes a variety of traditional and innovative fiber techniques including twining, looping, lashing and netting in her sculptural forms. Her recent work is deeply rooted in organic vessels that reference the body, natural and found objects, that enter into a complex dialogue about our place in the world and our impact on the environment. Her work has been shown across the United States and Internationally with recent solo shows at the Contemporary Art Center in Peoria, Governors State University in Illinois, and at the Praxis Fiber Workshop in Cleveland. Coddington’s work was also selected for inclusion in the 2022 International Fiber Biennial in Pittsburgh, traveling to the Fort Collins Museum of Art this coming summer.
Ann is a Professor of Art and Graduate Coordinator at Eastern Illinois University. She received her MFA from the University of Illinois Sculpture Department, and her BFA from the Colorado State University Fibers Department. She is very active in teaching sculptural twining workshops around the world. This past summer Ann taught at the Penland School of Crafts, and recently at Indigo Blue Hawaii studios, the Chicago North Suburban Needle Arts Guild and upcoming for Fibre Arts Australia. Coddington serves as the co-chair of Exhibitions and as a member of the board for the National Basketry Organization.
Instagram: @abcoddington https://www.instagram.com/abcoddington/?hl=en
The fiber techniques that I use are drawn from the ancient craft of basketry. In my work, I tie string together and interweave fibers to create a sculptural expression of embodied experiences. I am exploring the dichotomies: eternal and ephemeral, strong and delicate, masculine and feminine, old and young, living and dead. These ineffable, somatic memories held by the body are potent, penetrating, and enduring.
The hand-made object is increasingly alienated from the technological reality of our everyday life. We spend our days scrolling and clicking, searching through bits of data, not actually feeling and sensing, but instead, digitally experiencing a virtual world. In my work, I am moving in the opposite direction, reducing my art-making to elemental, physical, and tangible processes, to a human action that remains within my grasp.
The Albatross vessels in this exhibition utilize an off-loom woven technique called twining, using waxed linen fiber, and contain my own collected plastic waste inside them. The series was inspired by Christopher Jordan's disturbing photographs of the Midway Atoll albatross birds decomposing on the beach, revealing an abundance of plastic objects they had inadvertently eaten while skim-feeding for food.
Revealed by the accompanying x-ray photographs, what appears elegant, organic, and pure, like the body of the albatross, hides discarded detritus within. The woven vessel, like the body of the albatross, will most certainly decompose long before the plastic within. In truth, I do not want to fill my art with plastic. But none of us actually wants to fill our creatures, our oceans, our planet with plastic; and yet, we are. This series is a way to take some responsibility for my part of this problem and to bring this conversation to the forefront of my work.