Exploring the Living Shoreline planting event at Cooley Landing with artist Linda Gass

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on November 14, 2017

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InMenlo contributing photographer Robb Most was at Cooley Landing last weekend photographing the Living Shoreline planting event organized by artist Linda Gass (pictured right) and Grassroots Ecology. Volunteers were there to replace blue plastic survey whiskers with the California Native plant Juncus.

A second planting will take place this Saturday, Nov. 18 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. You can register to take part in the living land art installation online.

A Stanford grad with a BS in mathematics and an MS in computer science, Linda turned from high tech to art two decades ago. In her artist’s statement she writes: “Growing up in Los Angeles during the drought years made me aware of the preciousness of water and that realization has turned into a passion for incorporating water related concerns into my art.

“I’m drawn to the birds-eye view of the landscape and the human marks and patterns that are revealed by this view. My study of these marks leads me to ask questions about how they affect the health of our water resources. Did this aqueduct contribute to the drying up of lakes or creeks or rivers? Does this diked industrial salt pond affect water quality? Could this dam have caused this species to become endangered?

“I then do research to find answers to those questions and to the many new questions that arise in the process — thus allowing me to understand how the landscape has changed over time. My artwork is inspired and informed by my research process and includes the history of the site, scientific issues, maps and aerial photographs.”

Linda’s Living Shoreline project began as a temporary installation during a Creative Ecology Art + Science Residency through the Palo Alto Art Center and Junior Museum and Zoo in 2015. The second planting this coming weekend will complete the project. As she promises in her artist’s statement, included is a history of Cooley Landing, a particular nostalgic read for folks who grew up in the Mid-Peninsula during the 50s and 60s.

In addition to land art, Linda works in glass and stitched paintings. “The thread among them is that they are art that focuses on land and water issues in California and the American West,” she said.

Photos by Robb Most (c) 2017

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