Filtering the Cyan(otype) Sea – Rachel Church
Recent alumni Rachel Church and artist Melissa Bardsley just had a show titled, “Filtering the Cyan(otype) Sea” with Project Emmersive, located in Bidderford, Maine. Church describes her work as:
“This work began with a series of cyanotypes that was inspired by the work of Anna Atkins. Atkins was a botanist who in 1843 used the cyanotype process to create the very first book with photographic images titled Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions. This was just one year after the cyanotype process was invented by John Herschel. I followed her same process for washing, pressing, drying, and printing the seaweed to make a modern take on her work, where I used seaweed and plastic trash found today on the coast of Maine, highlighting the visual similarities and differences between the sea vegetation and common ocean pollutants.
These images were first projected in the exhibit Drift & Migrate: Flow & Migrate, presented by The Algae Society BioArt & Design Lab, created by past faculty member Gene Felice. This is where I got the idea to fill an entire space with projections on my work. When ProjectEmmersive asked me to create a show for their space, this was a perfect opportunity to bring this to reality. I invited fellow USM Alum Melissa Bardsley to collaborate with me, adding her sculptures to project onto, and we created some new work where we integrated cyanotype into her wall pieces. In addition, I added a sound element of underwater sounds, to enhance the feeling of being under the ocean and immersed in the space. I also created a takeaway for this exhibit, which gave some history and information about Anna Atkins’ work and cyanotype, and included a kit to make-your-own cyanotype at home.”