Humans have recycled materials since ancient times, turning waste into new products. But nature is also a master recycler, especially when it comes to glass objects that have been discarded into the oceans. The abrasive action of water and sand, manipulated by currents and tides, and the chemistry of the ocean environment can create unique textures on the surfaces of glass items that human technology would be hard-pressed to create. And exposure to sunlight often results in color changes in the glass itself, turning once-clear glass to subtle and unique hues. Collectors prize these nature-made works of “sea glass,” and delight in the quest to identify their origins.
Nationally known photographer Celia Pearson was commissioned to produce 150 images of the sea glass collection of Marylanders Richard and Nancy LaMotte – comprising some 30,000 pieces for their 2004 book Pure Sea Glass. Since then these small treasures, including collections from Italy and Spain, have been an enduring inspiration for Pearson. A selection of her intriguing photographs is featured in an exhibition titled Celia Pearson: Glass Transformed, A Photographer Explores Sea Glass, opening Oct. 1 at the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum.
The exhibit runs through Dec. 29 with gallery hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. A reception will be held on Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. with the artist as special guest to give a talk followed by a book signing. Seating is limited, and reservations are required.
Produced with archival inkjet technology, Pearson’s photographs can be as large as thirty inches in size, offering the viewer a surprising and surreal view as tiny pieces of colored glass assume the appearance of massive sculptures.
Pearson observes, “I came to experience sea glass as a photographer rather than a collector. I have always been compelled by its physical beauty. Part of the beauty of sea glass is that it has its own light. Light makes these bits of sea glass come alive.”
Observing her own images, Pearson adds that they are often about order, balance and harmony. “I see this glass not only through the lens of my camera but also through the lens of my own particular passions. Regardless of how they came to be, you will see these images through the lens of your own particular passions, and thereby this glass will be, once again, transformed.”
The Art Museum is located at 3100 S. Ocean Blvd. Admission to the Museum is free at all times, but donations are welcomed. For further information, call 843-238-2510 or visit www.MyrtleBeachArtMuseum.org.