Depth of Decision: Opening Doors Under the Sea

Artist Gianna Stewart watches as her sculpture is lowered into the Gulf of Mexico.

We are flooded with decisions every day. Doors represent a multitude of decisions, whether we choose to enter or wait for another opportunity. That is what Gianna Stewart wanted to communicate with her piece Depth of Decision, one of the 2019 installations for the Underwater Museum of Art (UMA).

Depth of Decision is a series of four concrete door frames, open at various stages. “An open door is an invitation to enter or exit, a closed door is a challenge. A series of doors is a decision, which one to pass through if any,” Stewart said.

“This series of doors, of decisions, will submerge in among marine life that will make it home.”

Stewart intended for the doors to look out of place in its permanent home in the gulf. Taking inspiration from the underwater lost city of Atlantis, she incorporated the open ocean into the tone of the piece.

“A door is out of place in an environment of boundless space, unbound by walls or imposing architecture,” Stewart said. “The tension between natural and built world will be evident as one approaches and finds the work is a series of door frames.”

Depth of Decision turned out to be 7 feet by 7 feet, but this wasn’t the largest sculpture Stewart has done. Her 2017 sculpture Iceberg, which floated in Fort Point Channel in Boston, was over double the size of Depth of Decision. “However, this is by far the heaviest sculpture I’ve made,” Stewart added.

She estimates it was 6,000 pounds after the base was added.

Stewart first heard of the Underwater Museum of Art when she saw the call for artists online. After researching the museum and its mission, she was eager to submit her own design.

“I was excited to submit a design for such a unique location and an important purpose – to help harbor marine life,” Stewart said.

“I hope that those lucky enough to visit the Underwater Museum of Art take away how vast and important the underwater environment is, and how impactful our actions and inaction can be,” Stewart added. More of her work can be found at www.gianna.works.

Find out more about the Underwater Museum of Art and the other artists and sculptures found under the sea.

SARAH O’BEIRNE is a summer intern with 30A. She is majoring in journalism at the University of Illinois and has vacationed here for many years.

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