Spill, 2011, 26 X 48” Sea shells,marsh reeds, bird and animal debris, shredded money, sand, and encaustic on board.

 

(Detail)

 
 
 

Discourse

Environmental disaster in wait or energy bonanza: Oil and natural gas trapped beneath the America’s ocean floor looks different to a coastal citizen and the petroleum industry.

2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 rig workers and spilled 134 million gallons of oil over 87 days before being capped. Cleanup activities involved application of other toxic chemicals, additionally damaging marine and wildlife habitats. It was a blow to shore line and fishing economies that would take years to recover.

In May of 2016, an undersea pipeline leak has spilled nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. A risk reward assessment predicts: there will be no less than one oil spill a year of 1,000 barrels or more in the Gulf of Mexico over the next 40 years. A spill of 10,000 barrels or more can be expected every three to four years [source: Jervis].

As alternative energy sources become more accepted by the America public and the economic and political paradigms shift, dependence on petroleum-based energy has waned. However, we would be remiss to forget The Deepwater Horizon well blowout, Exxon Valdez tanker spill, Santa Barbara pipe spill and countless others…environmental degradation in pursuit of corporate profits and unchecked energy consumption looks the same everywhere. A spill is a spill.

Spill expresses the outcome. The flag palette has been altered to give it a softer, nautical underpinning. The flag field is marked by shells collected from the Gulf Shore region, all fifty states are noted because the shore is public land for all American citizens to use, giving all an interest. This combined with natural grasses from the area wetlands creates a soft tranquility in the underlying flag. In deadly contrast, black crude cakes (wax) form, wash ashore, and cover wildlife, vegetation, sand and any man-made structures it touches.