agnès b. is pleased to announce the opening of La Bohème: A Portrait of Our Oceans in Peril an exhibition by New York-based artist Mara G. Haseltine. Plankton plays a crucial role in regulating our planet's atmosphere. These microscopic creatures create half of the world’s oxygen. Ms. Haseltine took the inspiration for her sculptures from the samples of plankton she had collected while she was aboard the schooner Tara Oceans between February and March 2011 off the coast of Chile. Tara Oceans completed a 3-year tour of the globe collecting plankton last March. The mission was to take a snap shot of the state or health of the worlds oceans by looking at the way in which planktonic ecosystems world-wide are being effected by atmospheric climate change.

The contents of these samples revealed an alarming truth; not only did the samples contain the delicate otherworldly forms of plankton but also shreds of sunlight-degraded plastic. This discovery inspired a series of sculptures that resemble surreal beings from an alternate universe, but are in fact depictions of oceanic plankton entwined with plastic. The conclusion is a new awareness--that our fate is intimately linked with that of our oceans.

Ms. Haseltine’s sculptures often have remnants of their manufactured past and at the same time have integrated the hand blown uranium-infused glass which represents the plankton that glows under ultra violet light that clings to them. To create the series of sculptures on display at agnès b. Galerie Boutique, the artist also collected bits of plastic debris from outside her studio in Brooklyn, which is located on the edge of the East River in New York next to the Brooklyn Bridge. Based on the incredible array of colors and types of plastic refuse she found, she created a series of five sculptures depicting microscopic pieces of sunlight-degraded plastic with plankton clinging to them.

Mara G. Haseltine is an internationally renowned artist best known for her outsized sculptural renditions of microscopic life forms. She was an early pioneer in the translation of bioinformatics into three-dimensional form. She is also an ardent environmentalist and co-founder of The Green Salon, an international think-tank devoted to environmental solutions. In 2007 Haseltine created New York City’s first Solar Powered Oyster Reef. In 2011 Ms. Haseltine was an artist-in-residence at UCD and Tara Oceans, and was awarded Flag 75 for her voyage, a three-year journey around the world studying oceans and its relationship to climate change. She is an artist-in-residence for Imagine Science Films 2012-2013. Ms. Haseltine received her undergraduate degree in Studio Art and Art History from Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, and her master’s degree from The San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California, with a double degree in New Genres and Sculpture. She has exhibited and worked throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and at the National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago in the Port of Spain, Trinidad. Currently a professor at The New School in NYC, she is a member of both the Sculptors Guild of NYC as well as the Explorer’s Club. She works out of Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been published in The Times, Le Metro, The Guardian, Architectural Record, etc…

Tintinnid Champagne Glasses (2013)

La Bohème: A Portrait of our Oceans in Peril, Series I (2012)

La Bohème: A Portrait of our Oceans in Peril, Series I, Detail (2012)

La Bohème: A Portrait of our Oceans in Peril, Series II (2013)

La Bohème: A Portrait of our Oceans in Peril, Series II (2013)

06 La Bohème: A Portrait of our Oceans in Peril, Series II (2013)

La Bohème: A Portrait of our Oceans in Peril, Series II (2013)