Artist Diane V. Radel encrypts paintings of primordal sea turtle pathways to grow awareness of our ocean connections

06 Aug 2020, Posted by Robin McGowan in ART Matters, Events, News, Press Releases

From March to October, when the edges of shore are undisturbed by commercial lighting, trash left on the beach, or the carelessness of people, more than 100 female sea turtles leave the relative safety of the ocean waters and lumber up the slope of sand to deposit eggs.  If the nests remain undisturbed and conditions are just right, months later the baby turtles still blinking to adjust to the new world around them and lucky to measure a thumb in length, must scamper into the ocean waters to escape winged predators and then be fortunate enough to catch a current that carries them on to a great adventure.  This cycle dates back over 100 million years. The challenge of natural predators and life cycle risks, existed long before man was here to shine a flashlight, take photographs or complicate the process. In fact, observing sea turtle egg laying or hatchlings is best done on a public sea turtle walk approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Imperiled Species Management Section. But, because that opportunity wraps up each year in July, your best opportunity to understand the magic of this process is here now at the galleries of the luxury apartment Hermitage building where the art of Diane V. Radel is currently featured.

Exhibitions at the Hermitage’s public art space are managed by the Morean Arts Center’s curator Amanda Cooper who was captivated not only by Radel’s art but the story that inspires her work. The series of acrylic abstracts are titled Turtle Tracks Art, and the artist who lives on Florida’s southeast coast was inspired by an experience Radel had on Melbourne Beach in 2017. “The concept of time plays an important part in my process and my painting. Specifically, mama turtle’s age and the date her eggs hatch, the cycle of growth and our own mortality, and the millions of years before and after that moment invokes profound consideration. I record the time and date of each track with every photo. This allows me to return to my studio and sketch a pattern that will never again be repeated. After drawing the sea turtle’s path in black paint, I add molding compound to create a textural tableau before adding thin layers of amped-up acrylic paint colors,” said Radel.

“While I take the subject of my artwork very seriously, I paint these tracks in an abstract manner using “uplifting” colors, giving them vitality and positivity. There is symbolic, as well as actual, beauty in the topographical nature of these tracks. A combination of art and design that brings to mind a sense of familiarity.  Further, in this unprecedented time, there is comfort in the repeated rhythm of nature—morning comes after night, Spring comes after Winter, sea turtles return home to nest as they have since dinosaurs roamed our earth. This is how art becomes a shared experience, connecting the viewer to the moment, with something bigger than themselves,” Radel added.

According to Cooper, “The artist enhances the viewer experience with a unique approach to using technology (PixelStix) to amplify her art. There is a computer circuit attached to the backside of each piece of art near Radel’s signature. When you download the PixelStix app and point your phone at the signature, a video of the artist appears with detail on the sea turtle track in the individual painting appears.”

“This allows people to connect with me as an artist, and see my motivation and passionate belief that we can work together as a global community to conserve our oceans, as well as all living things that depend on it,” said Radel.

The Hermitage gallery space is open to the public during sales office hours which are currently, Monday thru Friday from 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday from 12 noon to 5 pm. If you mistakenly come across a sea turtle, you should know that they are protected by both the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 and Florida’s Marine Turtle Protection Act.  Human interference, noise and lights are all disruptive to the natural processes. If you find an injured or dead turtle, call Florida Fish and Wildlife at 888-404-3922 or just dial *FWC, and provide the animal’s location, closest access point and approximate size. If you see spray paint, it’s a documented turtle.

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