For sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, the ocean is more than a muse — it’s an exhibition space and museum. Taylor creates sculptures of human forms and mundane life on land and sinks them to the ocean floor, where they are subsumed by the sea and transformed from lifeless stone into vibrant habitats for corals, crustaceans and other creatures. The result: Enigmatic, haunting and colourful commentaries about our transient existence, the sacredness of the ocean and its breathtaking power of regeneration.
deCaires Taylor installations bring environmental messages to a viewer already primed with an interest and passion in our oceans, as well as highlighting these environments to land-goers by calling attention to them through art. The movement of artworks from the gallery to the oceans represents a new frontier for both the arts and continued health of marine ecologies. The oceans represent a new, contemporary frontier of artistic experimentation with its own challenges, particularly with artworks that endeavour to be remedial and thus need to be both non-toxic to the environment while promoting marine growth and health. For marine ecology, the works draw the viewers’ attention to the ocean and its continued health, and also encourage the viewer to experience it directly yet non-destructively and enter the ocean ecology to view deCaires Taylor’s sculptures directly.