Currently on view at the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries is an exhibition by artist/biologist Brandon Ballengée, co-organized by Amy Lipton of ecoartspace. The exhibition titled Ghosts of the Gulf includes several stark and brilliantly colorful images of marine species collected in the Gulf of Mexico directly following the deadly 2010 Deep Water Horizons (DWH) oil spill disaster.
Ballengée’s artistic and scientific inquiry has focused on the rapid decline of amphibian populations around the world and the occurrence of developmental deformities among amphibians. He has received international attention for this work as well as his scientific research publications. Ballengée’s work as a biologist looks at amphibians as bio-indicator species, particularly their development in complex ecosystems and the proximate causes for developmental deformities among wild populations. “Understanding amphibians at this point in history is very important as they are suffering from rapid wide-spread population declines at over 40% in less than half a century” said Ballengée. Though the Gulf of Mexico species depicted in Ghosts of the Gulf do not appear to show deformities, Ballengée, hypothesizes as to why; “The subjects in Ghosts were found shortly after the spill so do not have any obvious morphological abnormalities, however we don’t know what the long term impacts of the spill yet will be, on these species or even our own”. These images of species once common to the Gulf, represents a creative process that blurs the lines between art and biology. Ballengée’s specimen-subjects transition from their once living state to brightly colored x-rays revealing the complex architectural anatomy of these beautiful and vanishing species.
Beacon Institute is proud to welcome artist/biologist Brandon Ballengée to its gallery at 199 Main Street in Beacon, NY for a new show that will be on display through March 8, 2015.