Silver Shoal

Wood, nails, thread, paper, encaustic, 18'x8'x2.5'

July 2014

Silver Shoal is a collaboration with Dara Solliday and started life as a site-specific installation for the Fishbowl Gallery in Seattle's Underground. It was a response to the dimensions and conditions of the space and the location—the gallery was carved out from an antiquarian bookstore. It is constructed from a single edition of a reprint of the original 1771 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, dipped or covered in encaustic, and aluminum roofing nails. The support structure is made from poplar, wire, and miles of thread and rope.

Excerpt from the artist statement available in full at

"A reprint of the original Encyclopedia Britannica forms the visual mass of this installation. It seems fitting to use a book which contains the collected knowledge of the late 18th century as a representative for books in their myriad variety. The yellowing age-spotted paper reminds us of the occupants of countless library stacks. Now encased in beeswax and pigment, the pages have  a different purpose.

We introduced aluminum roofing nails, the shoal in a sea of pages, as the dissonant element. The conflict, as it were, in a story. The nails break the directionality of other elements, introduce a hard edged quality, while at the same time being a contradiction themselves. Nails are fasteners; they are heavy, and they are dark. Here, they are a light silver, weigh practically nothing, are themselves fastened with twine, and chime with a silvery cadence in the slightest breeze."

Silver Shoal was also exhibited at Kate Alkarni Gallery and was installed in Amazon's South Lake Union campus as part of Seattle Storefronts in the latter half of 2015. It now resides in the lobby of the Good Arts Building.

Silver Shoal in its original home at the Fishbowl Gallery.  

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