Marine Abstracts

The newest work of La Mer abstracts the architecture of marine life from the microscopic primary producers, corals and beyond. The sculptures play off the interdependent elements in single-cell colonies, their growth via binary fission and symbiosis within the coral reef ecosystems for a start.

Jacques Cousteau said, “People protect what they love.” One must first be aware of the extraordinary life supporting our blue planet. Hagan’s work magnifies and shares a climacteric invitation to do just that, fall in love.

Prickly Persistence

Prickly Persistence

hand-built ceramic, 9” x 9” x 9”

Radiolarians are some of the earliest micro life forms on Earth developing during the Cambrian Period about 540 million years ago. Persistant. Radiolaria, from Latin, radius - spoke of a wheel; radiolus, diminutive - little spokes. Radiolarian are protist, single-cell marine organisms specifically protozoa (proto: first; zoo: animal). Their structures are silica or glass lace.

Daughter Cells

Daughter Cells

hand-built ceramic, 10.75” x 14” x 15”

Single-cell organisms often reproduce by binary fission, one cell splits producing a second. The new cell is called a daughter cell. On some occasions, one is blessed with two.

Perpetual Lophelia Pertusa

Perpetual Lophelia Pertusa

hand-built ceramic, 5.75” x 6.5” x 4”

The radiating tentacles of this coral pompom intend continuous thriving indeed for the endangered coral.

I visited Dr. Erik Cordes and PhD candidate Alexis Weinnig at Temple University Labs in Phildelphia with Diane Burko after his historic discovery in August 2018. He found the largest known L. Pertusa reef, 85 miles long off the coast of South Carolina. Sharing science and art with Dr. Cordes and his team inspired this piece and our ongoing connection.

Reef building, deep sea coral, lophelia pertusa lives far beneath sunlight in cold, deep ocean waters. The colonial organism consists of many individual polyps that live on the calcium carbonate skeleton of previous generations. Each polyp is encircled with tentacles. Dating shows the extremely slow growing reef like this one may be 40,000 yrs old. This reef is in the proposed site for drilling although it is recognized as a threatened habitat in need of protection.

Diatom Dance

Diatom Dance

hand-built ceramic, 6” x 7.5” x 6”

The frustule or diatom "shell" is usually composed of two overlapping sections or valves. This overlapping allows for some internal expansion and is essential during the reproduction process. The frustule also contains many pores that provide the diatom access to the environment, filtering and floatation. When in a colony (connected to system of fellow cells), the cells reproduce asexually via binary fission expanding from the inside out. The newest cells or daughter cells are in the center of the colony and the process continues with each new cell smaller than the previous one. Eventually, when too small to split, they convert to sexual reproduction producing an ovum and sperm to begin the dance all over again.

Characteristic of this abstract series, this piece sits in various poses and perspectives.