Indoek Gallery

Exhibit 002

Mark Cunningham, Cooper Root, Jim Olarte Scott Soens

FOUND is collection of works by Jim Olarte, Mark Cunningham, and Cooper Root using materials combed from the shores & coves of Southern California to the reefs of the Hawaiian islands. This exhibit is generously supported by our friends at Outerknown and will be on view from 03/25/23 — 04/23/23 at the Indoek gallery in Ventura, California.

Ryder Alves
Scott Soens
Ryder Alves
Scott Soens

Hailing from two iconic epicenters of surf culture and industry — Jim and Cooper in Orange County, Mark in the North Shore of Oahu, the artists curate the detritus and missing relics of watermen to create beauty in the lost and discarded. From weathered fiberglass boat pieces to nautical ropes, reef-crusted surfboard fins to fishing weights. What most would disregard as trash or debris, the artists convey textured story through context and repetition in their works. Primitive, recycled masterpieces that were first claimed by the ocean, are then offered back by the tides with a patina only years of salt water could produce.

Jim Olarte, a Laguna Beach native, has spent decades beach combing, collecting and curating his unique finds. His large scale, architectural rope macramé work is truly unparalleled and otherworldly. Inspired by the works of Alexander Calder, Jim has also created a series of mobiles made of fiberglass boat pieces for the exhibit. His apprentice turned studio partner, Cooper Root has helped to expand and evolve their body of work, adding his own keen eye and fresh perspective.

A fellow aquatic treasure hunter, Mark Cunningham is a living legend from Hawaii. An infamous North Shore lifeguard and professional body surfer, Mark scours the reefs and caves under the famed Pipeline wave and other surfing sights around Oahu in the off season to scavenge objects claimed by the sea. Mark’s “studio partner;” the white, crusty, coralline reef algae Porolithon, takes over debris like surf fins, wax combs, dive masks, et cetera. Then Mark mounts them on beachwood as readymade displays, grouped by object type or color to communicate a witty undercurrent.

Scott Soens
Scott Soens
Ryder Alves
Scott Soens
Scott Soens

Jim Olarte has been beach combing and collecting for decades to achieve the right balance of colors and textures in his work. Inspired by their countless hours of beach combing, Jim and Cooper have “discovered” a new medium. The fiberglass sculptures are found and excavated from the rocky coastlines of Cameo Shores, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, and Point Loma. The materials are remnants of shipwrecked boats — shaped by the rocks, tides and sand. These fiberglass pieces and shards are then carefully composed into sculptures by the artists.

All the architectural macrame in this exhibit is composed of various types & widths of Manila rope, sisal rope, leather, vintage sisal, and polished hemp. Using a variety of knots, each macrame sculpture is convertible and can be re-configured to fit its environment. Taking a cue from underwater kelp forests, the colors resemble the different varieties of kelp and seaweeds.

“We take pride in the precision and scale of our knots. When we get certain lengths of vintage rope, we like to construct a sculpture that has no cuts in the rope. Using new and vintage ropes, we employ a variety of knots to create intricate and layered sculpture.”
– Jim Olarte

Scott Soens
Scott Soens

“The majority of my snorkeling treasure hunting obviously was in front of Ehukai Beach Park were I guarded for nearly 20 years. But of course anywhere between Log Cabins & Kammieland was fair game. I might like snorkeling more than bodysurfing or boardsurfing. No one’s trying snake me for positioning. No one drops in. No one’s giving me stink eye. Don’t have to dodge kooks. It’s kinda peaceful… no real right or wrong way to do it. Wherever people surf or swim they’re losing stuff. It’s kinda like like scavenger or Easter egg hunt. Even if you get skunked, you’ve at least been in the ocean, gotten some exercise and seen some beautiful sea life + light. All the spots I snorkel are spots that I surf or bodysurf at as well. It’s nice to see these waves and lineups from a completely different perspective. Wherever people swim or surf, they’re losing stuff. I joke that I have fun four times during the process:
First is snorkeling.
Second is beach combing.
Third is finally sitting down and trying to find the most satisfying pairing of objects.
Fourth is getting paid for all of the above.”

Mark first embarked on his underwater treasure hunting obsession in 1976 as a lifeguard on the North Shore of Oahu. He started diving for lost jewelry, watches, and cash as a means of survival — it was a longtime Hawaiian Beachboy and lifeguard tradition in order to supplement their meager incomes and living on a cargo cult island. He first found a wedding band in the reef at Ala Moana Beach, then would collect swim fins to sell back to bodyboarders and bodysurfers for five bucks a pop. This obsession, turned enterprise snowballed into art-making, which eventually landed him his first exhibit of his finds over ten years ago in NYC at Partners & Spade in 2012.

“All these once shiny and new man-made objects are now battered, worn and aged by the elements and the passage of time. Kind of like all of us. I guess I’m trying to show off my love of surfing, the ocean and the inevitable and wonderful passage of time.”

– Mark Cunningham

Scott Soens
Tom Adler admires the exhibit Scott Soens

Come visit the gallery while this exhibit is on view through April 23rd, 2023 — it is not to be missed!

432 N. Ventura Ave.
Studio 30
Ventura, CA 93001

Thursday — Sunday
12–5pm PST
(or by appointment)

A portion of the sales from this show benefit the Surfrider Foundation and their local Ventura County Chapter.

For more information on all the art featured in this exhibit, please download the price sheet here:



Check out the FOUND Indoek / Outerknown collection here:


Matt Titone

A goofy-footed graphic designer who hails from the first state, Delaware. After attending Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL then graduating from SCAD in Savannah, GA with a BFA in Graphic Design and Illustration, Matt moved to NYC and found work as a freelance designer and art director. In 2006 he moved west to Venice, CA where he co-founded ITAL/C Studio and now resides a bit further north in Oxnard.

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