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Danielle Dean17, MFA, Photography
Sea | 2017, Photograph

Artist Statement
An Island can be a refuge. For eleven years, I lived and worked on San Juan Island, a seven mile stretch of land in the Salish Sea. In creation myths, islands portray the beginnings of consciousness. On San Juan Island the native tribe, the Salish Indians, believed that Mitchell Bay, located in the northwest part of the island, was their Garden of Eden. It is a thin place - a Celtic description of a place where the veil between heaven and earth seems thinner.

An Island can also serve as a canary in a coal mine. Life is directly tied to nature on an immediate measurable scale. Changing tides erode the land. Ocean acidification shifts a delicate balance, affecting food sources for all. Most residents know the current head count of the megafauna, celebrating births and mourning deaths. It is a sense of place directly connected to events in nature, a form of immersion. I use to swim in the sea. I would get suited up for long periods in the cold waters. I would set my eyes directly on the water line; the ocean expanding below and the sky stretching above. The two elements blending in harmonies of blue.

I want my work to inhabit the threshold between vastness and intimacy. I am interested in working with the dimensional space of photography in new ways by combining traditional photographic techniques with painting, printmaking, and small sculptures. My images begin with black and white film exposed through antiquated lenses. The old optics allow the light and atmosphere to impress themselves on the silver of the film.  With the steel and lead sculptures, I am working in collaboration with the sea and earth of the island to patina the objects. The work is about light, the elements, the alchemy of nature and chance.