Our Changing Seas I: A Coral Reef Story

Glazed ceramic on plywood
455 x 270 x 100 cm
Extended public loan, AAAS, Washington, DC

The exquisite diversity and complexity of coral reef organisms provide myriad opportunities for scientific discovery and artistic inspiration. Our Changing Seas I: A coral reef story is a creative outreach project that aims to inspire coral reef stewardship and policy change. It is the culmination of a master’s thesis by Courtney Mattison at Brown University’s Center for Environmental Studies with coursework at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

This gallery accompanies the exhibition of a large-scale ceramic coral reef wall installation that debuted in the lobby of the Herbert C. Hoover Building in Washington, DC in April 2011, and was hosted by NOAA and the US Department of Commerce.


About the Artist

Courtney Mattison creates intricately detailed ceramic sculptural works inspired by the fragile beauty of coral reefs and the human-caused threats they face. Her work raises awareness for the protection of our blue planet, urging policy makers and the public to conserve our changing seas. Mattison’s delicate and large-scale ceramic sculptural installations have been commissioned for permanent collections including those of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies, the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center and private patrons. Her work has been exhibited at prominent venues including the U.S. Department of Commerce headquarters, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Museum of Ceramic Art and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. Born in 1985 and raised in San Francisco, Mattison received an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts degree in marine ecology and ceramic sculpture from Skidmore College in 2008 and a Master of Arts degree in environmental studies from Brown University with coursework at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011. Her work has been featured by international outlets including Smithsonian Magazine, Good Morning America, Oprah Magazine, CNN Indonesia, BBC World Service and Science Magazine. She lives and works in Los Angeles. To view more of her work click below.