Above, artist Danielle Eubank stands for a portrait in front of her water paintings during her opening exhibit at the Aquarium of the Pacific on Nov. 5, 2019. Photos by Briana Mendez-Padilla.
For over 20 years, Danielle Eubank has been painting water and capturing the world’s oceans – and its trash – in an attempt to create awareness about climate change and ocean pollution.
On Nov. 5, the Aquarium of the Pacific hosted an opening exhibit, “Ocean Resiliency: The Expeditions of Danielle Eubank,” where Eubank explored the parallel between abstract and realism and captured water through painting.
“This artwork is really interesting because it looks at the ocean in a really different way,” said Claire Atkinson, senior manager of communications at the Aquarium of the Pacific. “It goes in super close up in ripples and the shape of the water, and it looks in some ways familiar, but it also makes it really abstract.”
Attendees admire paintings by Danielle Eubank at the Aquarium of the Pacific on Nov. 5, 2019.
In addition to the paintings, notecards were included with tips and suggestions on how to create habits to alleviate climate change.
The painting, “Arctic XII,” for example, depicted what looks to be oil stains tainting light blue and orange hues. The notecard below it read, “I will not wash my car…” and proceeded to explain the benefits of commercial car washes versus washing cars at home.
Organizers of the gallery intend to create change in the way people perceive the world around them and inspire action.
“Science doesn’t always spark that emotional cord in people that art can do,” said Marylin Padilla, director of public relations for the aquarium.
Danielle Eubank gives a lecture during her opening exhibit, “Ocean Resiliency: The Expeditions of Danielle Eubank,” at the Aquarium of the Pacific on Nov. 5, 2019.
Opening night of the display also included a lecture by the expedition artist herself. Eubank, who sailed the five oceans, spoke about her travels on ships such as Phoenicia, a custom-built replica of a phoenician ship, which successfully recreated the first journey to Africa, believed to have been accomplished before Columbus, by phoenician mariners.
While on these ships, Eubank painted the crew, the ship and portraits of water. For inspiration, she photographed and observed the environment around her. A common factor in all of the oceans of the world, she said, is trash. Whether it be old wood or scraps of metal and more than anything, plastic, our water is extremely polluted.
“Finding aesthetic elegance helps me cope with the destruction,” said Eubank.
She aims to empower people, adding that it is important for people to look at the art, think about it, feel and ultimately take action.
“Not only did she travel, but she traveled with intention, and that added many layers to what she was already doing,” said attendee Allison Chambers. “I think the message behind it makes it even more impactful.”
Organizers of the gallery also hope to help people see the ocean in a new light and make a connection with it.
“I think raising awareness through art is one of the most beautiful and passionate things you can do,” said Diane Angel, an attendee.”It’s so thought-provoking and it makes you want to change and do something, be active.”
Eubank’s paintings will be showcased until Jan. 5, 2020.