KOTF: Meet the Artists
written by Kady Murzin, Exhibitions and Marketing Intern
After the near-historic snowstorm, aptly nicknamed Snowzilla, you were probably shoveling your driveway and heading back to a daily routine of work or school. It might have crossed your mind that extreme weather has become more common.
Might have even thought that the cause of such a massive storm could be humanity’s self-interest leading to a destructive relationship with the planet.
Stop! That is seriously depressing. But this is something that artists have been grappling with. AAC’s exhibition King of the Forest: Adventures in Bioperversity (affectionately known as KOTF) brings together artists who have examined the destructive relationship humans have with the planet, specifically the effects on the planet’s non-human inhabitants.
Through a range of media including sculpture, video, drawings and sound, some of the artists exhibiting at AAC, explore the similarities between human and animal behavior. Read on to learn more about those artists and their work!
Selin Balci, a Maryland-based artist, uses her background in microbiology to apply microorganisms as a metaphor for human power.
The artificial environments she creates for the microbes, now on view at AAC, have a limited amount of space which creates conflicts for resources, forcing some microbes to become invasive.
Washington City Paper posted a great article about Selin’s process: The Mold and the Beautiful: How Selin Balci Makes Her Fungal Art. Read up on Selin and stop by to see her work in KOTF!
Anthony Cervino is the father of two daughters and is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Dickinson College. His work is heavily inspired by personal narratives and the concept of opposing relationships. His piece in the show Flock is an enlarged bird house that speaks to the similarities between human and bird territorial conflicts.
Lindsay Pichaske’s sculptural pieces appear familiar to the viewer because they fit into our notion of the identity of an animal.
Yet, they feel alien because our preconceived expectations are broken. Bone becomes hair and petals mimic fur. These animals cannot be trusted, thus creating doubt and confusion.
Other artists in the show have explored how technological advances, some of which have allowed humans to live a comfortable and privileged life, but at the same time have had a harmful impact on other species.
David D’Orio and Henrik Sundqvist
David D’Orio and Henrik Sundqvist work together using a variety of media to collaborate on pieces that question who bears the burden of the consequences of the use of chemical applications such as herbicides and pesticides. They both have a background in sculpture and printmaking. David D’Orio is the Executive Director and Resident Artist at DC GlassWorks. While Henrik Sunqvist is an affiliate of Discover Graphics Atelier in the Torpedo Factory Art Center (VA).
Jonathan Monaghan is a DC-based artist who uses animated technology, familiar in video games and Hollywood, to create worlds that are surreal, yet familiar. His video-artwork Life Tastes Good on view at AAC distorts the familiar imagery of the coca cola polar bear to represent the way we have commodified our idea of animals.
Rebecca Clark primarily works in pencil on paper to explore the imagery of the natural world that is in decline due to a loss of a connection with the earth. At AAC, her drawings show our disconnectedness to nature through the view of an animal reacting to a drone, a man-made technology.
Some of the artists explore the reality of our disconnectedness to nature through issues such as extinction, species loss, and dwindling biodiversity.
Lisa Crafts is an animator and moving image artist whose work explores issues of environmental uncertainty, sexuality, creativity, and chaos. Lisa’s work exhibited at AAC combines her observations and imagination to create a dystopian world that bears a resemblance to our everyday lives.
Birding the Future
Krista Caballero and Frank Ekeberg collaborated to investigate species loss in specific regions.
Their interactive piece combines sound and imagery to highlight current extinction rates for birds.
Krista Caballero is an interdisciplinary artist based in Maryland. Frank Ekeberg is an artist and researcher based in Norway who works within the sonic arts.
The last group of artists explores the concept of hope that while our behavior is hurting the earth, nature is able to keep enduring.
Leslie Shellow currently teaches drawing at Maryland Institute College of Art and University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The inspiration for her work comes from observations of the natural world, both the visible and the microscopic. Leslie chooses to use recycled material, not to make a statement on conservation, but to use materials that have had a history.
Talia Greene is a member of the Philadelphia collective Grizzly Grizzly, as well as an Adjunct Professor. Her work references historical images to highlight that while we attempt to tame nature, nature endures. In the show, her piece Ruination imagines urban places that are brought back to their original form as a wildlife preserve due to natural disasters.
Joan Danziger’s sculptures of large-scale beetles consume the walls and ceilings of the gallery spaces at AAC.
A DC-based artist, Joan chose the beetle because of their ability to survive. Through the sculptures, she explores the species varieties of colors, patterns and forms.
The works in KOTF force viewers to think about our behavior with the earth and how it is affecting other inhabitants. If the massive snowstorm was not a loud enough of wake-up call, hopefully, the thought-provoking pieces in the show will help us acknowledge the possible implications of our disastrous actions.