Ostreidae//Strata was made on location at Northlands Creative, Scotland. The work was a continuation of my exploration of the life and work of Irish Naturalist Annie Massy.
This body of work focuses in on one study in particular which was undertaken on behalf of the Irish Fisheries Board: Notes on the Evidence of Age afforded by the Growth Rings of Oyster Shells. Published in 1913 this slim volume debunks the myth that one could count the growth rings on an oyster shell to determine its age. This study stood out, capturing the idea that finding out something is untrue helps to build our knowledge of the world as much as discovering something is true. We must continue to questions that which we hold to be fact and be ready to shift our thinking on the world.
During my time researching at the National Museum of Ireland Natural History, with the help of the keepers there, we located the series of shells which Annie used for this study. The box numbers and references corresponded the labels in the report and it was very exciting to touch the same containers and shells as she had once done. The physicality of an object has the ability to connect us through time in a very immediate way. I hope that my work will bring a little of Annie search for knowledge to the fore and encourage the viewer to always question assumptions.
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Strata, 2022,Pâte de verre, 24ct gold leaf, 15cm (diameter)x10cm (H), Image: Morwenna Kearsley
Strata, 2022, blownglass, various gold leaf, 15cm (diameter)x6cm (H), Image Morwenna Kearsley
Ostreidae wall piece, 2022, dimensions variable, Image makers own