The Curious World of Seaweed

by Josie Iselin

November 18, 2021 – April 24, 2022

Visit the Online Exhibition

Contemporary scans of seaweed collected from our Pacific Coast are layered onto historical lithographs of particular algal species, creating a taxonomic vector from past to present and into an uncertain future. The exhibit aims to broaden the ideas of seaweed as both taxonomer’s and artist’s muse. The exhibit will show luminous scans of seaweeds in combination with lithographs that are directly tied to the taxonomic history (the naming) of the algae.

Pressed algae specimens layered over scientific illustrations of algae.

Artist Biography:

Josie Iselin is the photographer, author and designer of many books, with new projects always in development in her San Francisco studio, Loving Blind Productions. Her books focus on those forms in nature we find at hand and in particular, at the beach. Her newest book, The Curious World of Seaweed features sixteen visually rich narratives of our iconic West Coast seaweeds and kelps. It was released by Heyday Books in August 2019 and has been shortlisted for the Northern California Book Award and the Alice Award, recognizing illustrated books.

Josie’s mission is to produce enticing, well-researched and well-designed books that combine art and science, leaving the reader with new information about, and an appreciation for, the world around them. Her writing and art focusing on seaweed, kelp and sea otter put her at the forefront of ocean activism, presenting and working with scientists and environmental groups working to preserve the kelp forests off our Pacific Coast.

Josie holds a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard and an MFA from San Francisco State University. She currently teaches in the School of Design at SFSU. For over twenty years Josie has used her flatbed scanner and computer exclusively for generating imagery. She is still captivated by the fluidity with which this technique allows her to render and design with three-dimensional objects. As a fine artist, Josie exhibits large-scale prints at select galleries, museums, hospitals and other public spaces. Synthesizing the scientific stories of our coast is her overriding passion, bringing thoughtfulness and stewardship to this extraordinary place of discovery.

Exhibition Contributors:

Yukiko Stranger-Galey & Derek Tan
Derek Tan & Evan Craig
Education Advisor
Cassidy Mark
Scientific Curator
Linda Jennings
Evan Craig
Scientific Advisors
Bridgette Clarkston & Patrick Martone
Lesha Koop