Nudibranchia: Butterflies of the Sea -
Isabella Kirkland, "206 Nudibranchia", 2014, oil on canvas 48 x 60 inches, courtesy the artist.

Main Gallery

Nudibranchia: Butterflies of the Sea

September 27 - January 4, 2015

Curated by Jennifer Gately

This exhibition debuts a new series of paintings by Sausalito artist Isabella Kirkland entitled AQUAE that examines lesser-known life inhabiting the Earth’s aquatic realms. While the ocean is nearly 70% of the surface area of Earth, much of it still remains a mystery. Nudibranchs, commonly called sea slugs, are widely believed to be some of the most colorful creatures on earth. More than 3,000 species live at virtually all depths of the ocean with the greatest diversity seen in shallow reefs, much like Bolinas’s own Duxbury Reef. Meticulously researched and rendered, these paintings remind us of the great wonder living within the sea and why we should care about the health of the ocean and the countless life forms that depends on it.

Color photographs of the seafloor at the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary accompany Kirkland’s paintings. Taken about 20 miles off the shores of the Marin/Sonoma coastline, these stunning images reveal the significance of this rocky reef that was designated as a National Marine Sanctuary by NOAA in 1989. Cordell Bank is a hotspot for ocean life with nutrient-rich waters that swirl around the reef, providing food and shelter for a wealth of resident fish, invertebrates, and migratory visitors from across the Pacific Ocean.