My artwork is directed by my interest in the natural world, the beauty of life and all things living. It is inspired by our connection to place and the interconnected complex of all ecosystems. While urbanization gradually disengages us from the natural world, my work aims to cultivate and foster the environmental consciousness by recording and documenting what I learn from nature.
We have irrevocably distorted the natural evolution of life on Earth as geological changes now transpire on a human timescale. Through the amalgamation of art and science, I seek to understand how we are effecting the environment to learn what we can do to create positive impact. Observation, conservation science and in-depth research inform my work discussing the urgency of climate change and the call to action.
2004 April Surgent earned her BFA with Honors, School of Art, Australian National University, and Canberra, Australia. Her work has been exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally.
For six months during the spring and summer of 2016, I teamed up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s, Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program as artist in resident. After training in Honolulu, I worked as an embedded member of a three-person field camp at Pearl & Hermes Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Accessible only by boat and some 1200 miles northwest of Honolulu, Pearl and Hermes Atoll lies in the protected waters of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, the largest protected conservation area in the U.S and second only to the protected Ross Sea in Antarctica. The 450 square mile atoll is largely underwater, with only six small islands and islets that have a combined total land area of about 80 acres. Though the landmass is small, it provides critical habitat for untold numbers of green sea turtles, over 150,000 nesting seabirds and in 2016, 164 endangered Hawaiian monk seals.
I worked at Palmer station in 2013 as a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s, Antarctic Artist and Writers Program and in 2016 as a volunteer field biologist for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. Most recently, I worked from the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, 30 miles west of San Francisco.
My interest in this research lies in E. Tolle’s philosophy that awareness is the greatest agent for change and my belief that the dialogue between art and science is imperative for a most informed and diversified understanding of life on earth.
Surgent exhibits, teaches and lectures internationally and has received many accolades for her work, including the Neddy Fellowship through the Behnke Foundation and a 2016 USA Fellowship. She lives and works on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.
Conversations with Gee's Bend
Through My Lens
Takuyo Light Bulbs, Bronze, Steel, Line.
This piece is made from Takuyu light bulbs collected from Pearl and Hermes Atolls and Lisianski Island in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
It is very common to find 500-WATT red light bulbs (used in the fishing industry) floating in the open water or littered on the islands of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
Derelict fishing gear is a prolific source of the marine debris overwhelming ocean ecosystems, yet commercial fisheries are not held accountable for the devastating effects that the industry has on the marine environment.
Many thanks to field biologists who helped collect the materials:
Metal Fabrication: Zak Hinderyckx.