East Bay artist Crystal Morey’s colorful ceramic sculptures in her solo show, “In Our Nature” at Compound Gallery & Studios explore mankind’s impact on animal life and the natural world. Her sculptures depict human figures interacting with endangered species or animals who have become extinct due to urban development, industrial agriculture, or over-hunting. The intricate works acutely examine how what humans see as progress carry somewhat unintended consequences, and how these consequences not only affect ecosystems, but also human psyches and their relationships to the environment.
While the act of making these sculptures finely commemorates the animals in itself, Morey implements clever and intriguing means in the exhibition to use her sculptures as educational tools. A small book gives viewers helpful information about the animals depicted, while also evoking empathy and an emotional connection. Supplemented with QR codes for an audio guide, the book chronicles information about each of the animals as well as somewhat poignant passages of their extinction or endangered status. The passage for the Pyrenean Ibex sculptures reads, “The Pyrenean Ibex’s population declined due to a slow but continuous persecution and disappeared from the French Pyrenees and the eastern Cantabarian mountain range by the mid nineteenth century… The last naturally born Prenean Ibex, named Celia, died on January 6th 2000, after being found dead under a fallen tree at the age of 13. That animal’s only companion had died just a year earlier…” Morey investigates the delicate, interwoven dependencies all creatures share. As an artform, her sculptures reveal the mysteries found in our world that is beyond reality into an enigmatic realism.
Morey exhibits her drawings regularly in the Southern United States, but because she lives in the local area this exhibition is a unique opprotunity to see her more delicate and large ceramic works. Whatever medium, she creatively executes her interest in the “tenuous, symbiotic balance between human necessities and the health of our forests, oceans, mountains, and deserts.”
Crystal Morey’s “In Our Nature” will be at the Compound Gallery & Studios through July 15.