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'Ebb and Flow': Giant Kelp Forests through Art, Science and the Archives Exhibit

Oriana Poindexter, "Giant Kelp Study 8, Windansea Beach, February 2022." Original cyanotype on paper, 38 in x 50 in.
Oriana Poindexter / UC San Diego
Oriana Poindexter, "Giant Kelp Study 8, Windansea Beach, February 2022." Original cyanotype on paper, 38 in x 50 in.
Every week from January 12, 2024 until April 21, 2024.
Sunday: 10 AM - 10 PM
Monday: 7:30 AM - 10 PM
Tuesday: 7:30 AM - 10 PM
Wednesday: 7:30 AM - 10 PM
Thursday: 7:30 AM - 10 PM
Friday: 7:30 AM - 6 PM
Saturday: 10 AM - 6 PM
UCSD Geisel Library
All Ages
Note: Library hours may vary due to holidays or extended hours during exams.

San Diego’s coast is home to iconic underwater forests of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera). Towering 100 feet tall from the ocean’s rocky floor to the surface, they create homes for hundreds of animals to live in and can regulate the impacts of climate change. These forests provide many benefits to the ocean, animals and humans.

Beginning January 12, 2024, the UC San Diego Library will host "Ebb and Flow: Giant Kelp Forests through Art, Science and the Archives," an exhibit curated by Oriana Poindexter ’15, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) alumna and artist. The exhibit displays works created as a result of continued observation of the local giant kelp forest environment by artists, scientists and community members over the past 134 years.

The artwork, which will be displayed on the walls of Geisel Library’s main gallery and in The Nest, is the interpretation of the giant kelp forest by four contemporary artists – Julia C R Gray, Dwight Hwang, Marie McKenzie and Oriana Poindexter – in their distinct styles using ceramic, sculpture, oil painting, gyotaku and alternative photographic processes.

Seaweed pressings collected in La Jolla from 1890 through 2023 will also be on display. A 1905 seaweed pressing album from the Library’s Special Collections & Archives (SC&A), created by Virginia Scripps and her sister, Ellen Browning Scripps, the founding benefactor of SIO, shows a similar diversity of seaweed species as recent pressings created by SIO Professor Jennifer Smith. Additional pressings from the SIO Herbarium Collection, now housed at the San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat), will be on loan from the museum for this exhibit and will accompany those from SC&A.

Ebb and Flow illuminates the evolution and the persistence of giant kelp forests, ebbing and flowing through time but continuing to hold fast to the rocky shorelines. The works in this collection document the giant kelp forests and associated species from 1890 to the present day by uniting archival material with contemporary art, bridging art and science to inspire awe, ignite curiosity and catalyze dialogue.

[Exhibition gallery hours here]

Accompanying exhibit:
Birch Aquarium at Scripps is hosting an accompanying exhibit, "Hold Fast", which opens on February 8. This exhibit is an immersive art installation that explores San Diego’s local kelp forests and climate change through the lens of three local artists and scientists who use their skills and talents to take climate action.

Opening reception:
Save the Date: The Library will host an exhibit opening reception on Thursday, January 25, 2024. Sign up to receive our newsletter to get updates about this event.

UCSD Geisel Library

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California 92093
858 534-0134

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Dates and times of events are subject to change without notice. Always check the event organizer's website for the most updated schedule before attending.