Spawning Grunion Beneath Night Sky

In spring and summer, grunions briefly leave their underwater realm to spawn on sandy beaches just above the lapping surf.  This occurs only three to four nights after the highest spring tides of each full or new moon and one to three hours after the highest tide level.  A female wriggles her body, tail first, downward into the moist sand.  The male wraps his body around the female with his vent touching her body.  As the female deposits her eggs beneath the sand, the male’s sperm flows down her body to fertilize the eggs.  The eggs develop rapidly and about ten days later, waves from the next high spring tide wash over the buried eggs, release the young from their membranous shells, and carry them out to sea.

This composition is in reverence of this amazing union of male and female.  Constellation Pisces dances in the sky above the pair.  Can you find it?  Another constellation, Cetus, the whale, also looks on – the voyeur!

This piece combines gyotaku with a collage-like arrangement of different papers (Japanese tsugi-gami) using tear-and-join (yabure-tsugi), cut-and-join (kiri-tsugi) and overlapping (kasane-tsugi) techniques.  The various papers include white, black, blue and olive unryu.  The grunions were printed using white and silver inks on dark blue unryu.  The gyotaku were then cut and added to the other papers.  The stars were painted in a silver-pearl acrylic.

Size:  28 x 14 inches  (1999)

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