This was the first week of my Biostrata: Cutaway Ecologies artist residency. I am so thankful to be working outside in the Culture Garden at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre. Every summer I feel so justified in shirking my work, because, well it’s summertime, and the outside calls to me. This year it’s different because I get to exercise both of my passions, art and nature, all at the same time. I think I’m onto something here.
This project is all about connection between organisms. I’ll be making three nesting sculptures, each showing a different biome. So, naturally, I started the week off by researching biomes, which are areas of similar climate which house similar animals and vegetation.
Fun fact: an increase in altitude acts the same as distance from the equator, in terms of which biome you find yourself in.
Tuesday is not only research day, but also design day. I started by choosing the different animals that would be represented throughout the residency, and then made little polymer clay models to get an idea of form.
When I say nesting sculptures, I mean that in the sense of nesting dolls. These will be sculptures within sculptures. The first ecosystem I’m working with is the marine biome, and the first piece represents an apex shark.
The innermost layer will be an aquatic terrarium like you have seen in some of my previous work. It contains a Marimo moss (actually a form of algae) and shows the base of the food chain.
Around this is a stone sculpture which shows an octopus or squid type creature, something tentacley that would be delicious to a friendly neighbourhood shark. This acts as skeleton to the skin.
The skin layer is flexible textile and plastic. When finished, it will be painted with the habitat of the shark: water and those neato underwater rock formations and hydrothermal vents.
He is made up entirely of other creatures and his environment. Without them he would have no substance, and could not go on holding the shape of a shark. We humans are not exempt from this rule either, we are all made of what we eat and live with.
This week you can stop by Tuesday-Saturday from 9-5 and see the skin painted, the stone refined and polished, and the whole thing put together. To find out how you can follow along and participate, visit here.