ELIZABETH E RILEY
Messages From Deep Time
carbon black ink, white Conte crayon on Perspex
206 x 9cm
All life on earth began in the oceans.
Following lectures given by WAMSI academics I especially responded to the idea of deep time as presented by Dr Harriet Paterson when she spoke of her ice core observations while in Antarctica. Dr Paterson showed electron microscope images of minute plankton trapped in the ice millennia ago. The images were in black and white.
I collected serpulidae (sea worm) casings washed up on Binalup (Middleton Beach). These beautiful forms are calcareous tubes. They reminded me of an ancient script. I chose to use chalk to draw the tubes as chalk is made from plankton that sank to the ocean floor at least 60 million years ago (Cretacious Period). The black ink is soot (carbon) and the Perspex, being plastic, is carbon based. The format of a long narrow strip is responding to the ice core samples.
The slow and careful drawing of the tubes in some ways reflects the slow and careful observations of the marine scientists. The delicacy of the unfixed chalk on the carbon surface speaks of the fragility of our environment.