We are looking forward to hosting the following artists

Resident artists in their own words
Click on images for more info





Julie Ryder, Australia

I am a visual artist who works across the disciplines of textiles, drawing, digital printing, painting, glass and assemblage. Initially trained in science, I retrained as a textile designer in 1990, and over the past 25 years my arts practice has evolved in response to artistic opportunities and arts residencies, expanding my visual language by working with new media, new challenges and experiences. The materials I work with are an integral part of the message I want to convey, leading to a cross-disciplinary approach in making work for exhibition. I draw inspiration from the history of botany and botanical collectors; gender/social inequity; cross-cultural exchange, objects as receptacles of stories and memory; and the use of natural materials in making art in order to uncover hidden stories that lie between the pages of history. Cryptogams are a major co-collaborator in my work – from imprinting cloths directly with fungi, bacteria and molds in 1995; to working with SEMs of hornwort spores during my 2004 ANAT residency with Dr Christine Cargill, Curator of the Cryptogam Herbarium, Australian National Botanic Gardens. My latest body of work ‘The Hidden Sex’ explores 19th century women seaweed collectors, working across the mediums of textiles, embroidery, cyanotype, glass, seaweed and cuttlefish.


Kathleen Winter, Verdun, Quebec

I am currently absorbed in a three year project helping transcribe the previously unpublished journals Dorothy Wordsworth (Sister of the poet William Wordsworth) wrote late in life. (Her early journals written in youth are published and famous.) I am doing this for the Wordsworth Trust in the UK. I am also writing a novel based on my findings, to be published by Knopf in 2021. Dorothy Wordsworth was a botanizer in the 19th century amateur tradition, and she collected many mosses, lichen and other specimens, and used a folding botanical microscope invented by the pre-eminent field guide author of her day (Withering). My own studies include sympathetic amateur observation using a powerful magnifier on long walks. I am particularly interested in lichen, fungi and mushrooms. My mushroom interest extends into making medicinal tinctures using homeopathic and spiritual principles as well as nutritional knowledge. I normally walk along the St. Lawrence near my Verdun home, and in the woods of the Eastern Townships, sketching and studying plant life along with Dorothy's writings. The retreat you are proposing would be a wonderful way for me to learn deep things about the mushrooms, lichen and fungi Dorothy knew and loved.


Suus Agnes Claessen, New Zealand

I am an author-illustrator and comics artist with a background in science communication, literary studies, and beekeeping. My work takes a particular
interest in environmental ethics and the underdog. As a PhD candidate at the Centre for Sustainability, Otago University, New Zealand, I currently work on a graphic novel about human relationships with 'unloved' microcommunities of invertebrates, moss, and fungi. This is part of my interdisciplinary research that explores visual narrative as a method for cultivating attentiveness to nonhumans.

I look for ways to better coexist with my environments through different ways of knowing them —from folklore and myth to traditional and contemporary ecological knowledges— and let these stories colour my daily observations and actions, as I’m learning to read my surroundings intimately; perhaps even communicate with them. Who am I to them? Who responds to the seeds and spores I spread?

By engaging story and sense in processes of getting to know other beings, my creative practice seeks to bring them to wider cultural imaginations. It’s too easy to overlook or disregard them as backdrops to human life. By reviving forgotten wisdoms, I wish to contribute to a broader recognition of nonhumans in all shapes and sizes, not just for their importance and wondrousness, but also as life forms in their own rights, alive and aware, creatures full of story and for who things matter.


Ashlee Mays, Pigeon Forge, TN

As a printmaker, most of the pieces I make derive from some kind of book structure. The structure of a book is simple and its function is intuitive. While books are generally static objects, they are built to be in motion. The spine of a book demonstrates just the right amount of flexibility to allow access. The book form is a vehicle for information, information that was important enough to mechanize and disseminate. Printmaking for me has always been about a mechanism.

It is one thing to say something, it is another thing to write it down, and it is a completely different thing to carve, engrave, design, and print that same thing. My work focuses on these symbols that signify our human desires, and their motion. Their motion through both their mechanization of production, and the way they disseminate into banality. Many of my pieces move from place to place, sometimes through space and sometimes through ownership. Printmaking provides the conceptual spine that supports my interdisciplinary practice. My art pieces are almost always interactive, asking the viewer to physically place themselves in this portrait of connectivity. Nowadays we do not rely on movable type to get us our daily news. It seems that we no longer rely on the accuracy of the artist’s hand to illustrate scientific information. Printmaking mobilized the first information revolution. We are experiencing another one, and this one did not appear out of thin air. I am looking to expose the seemingly invisible lines that connect our day to day experiences with a larger mechanism. It appears to me that Botanists are sometimes doing the same thing. The parking ticket you got last week, the souvenir from your last vacation- these artifacts all have a complex history. They quietly shape an experience that you are actively participating in.




y   Chantal Lafond, Calgary, AB

I am an emerging artist based in Calgary, Alberta, primarily working with traditional fibre techniques such as weaving, knitting and embroidery. My work often includes objects and materials that are conducive to preservation, or protective, nurturing acts.
In addition to working within the realm of fibre, I also work with installation and sculptural assemblage. Through these aspects of my practice I have sought to reactivate the materials used by the artist Joseph Beuys. I am particularly interested in his recurring use of felt and fat in both his sculptural and performative works due to their potential for insulation, as well as the conductive properties they share. When creating installations I like to cultivate the suggestion of a performative act about to take place, or the subsequent residue of something that has already occurred.

Currently, my practice is focused on creating hand-woven objects to be used to prepare a body for burial or cremation. I seek to share an understanding of the importance of these objects as they have appeared in many cultures throughout history, as well as examine their use in our present time and place, and their potentials for increased recognition as accessible and meaningful handmade funerary vessels.

Through my work I strive to reconnect to the physical and emotional labour of death and mourning typically carried out collectively by the women of a community. Upon witnessing my work, I hope to allow viewers to consider that there can be care, beauty, and intimacy in death.



Judy Duggan-McCormack, Hamilton ON

As a textile artist, the work I generate I would articulate as both subjective and observant. I create with a desire to explore and satisfy my artistic needs while incorporating historical and genealogical facts or nuances. I feel a longing to explore, collect, source and sample from events that have taken place through generations of my own family as well as obscurely chronicled narratives of the past. My design plan can either be a 'spark' of inspiration or an observation from another influence, Therefore I remain open until I have researched my thoughts, findings and ideas and my initial project plan may morph between the idea stage and the execution of the art piece.

My current work, is an amalgamation of contemporary and historical design, executed in a variety of textile forms ranging from knitting, crochet, dyeing, beadwork and embroidery or a blend of all of the above. I am often drawn to cemeteries for inspiration for my work as the rich history offers a plethora of ideas and stories.  Much can be read from a grave marker no matter how simple the inscription.  The idea that a person whom I did not know has been buried with so many more stories to tell instills the need for me to give the life a narrative through my art.


Toni Ardizzone
, Tallahassee, FL

Combining a vibrant color palette, dense composition, and bold approach with an unapologetic study of mortality, my work exposes the ferocity of nature and the trauma associated with survival. Having been exploring death in my work for several years, I experienced the misfortune of facing my own memento mori in 2018. Recovering from bodily trauma, I returned to my studio with wilting “get well” flower arrangements I received while hospitalized. Not typically interested in painting flowers, I chose the subject in a utilitarian fashion to recharge my practice. Painting these arrangements in decay generated connections between survival, loss, death, memory, and transformation.

Incorporating cardboard, window curtains, pillow cases, bed sheets, and vintage printed paper into my paintings, much of my work is best described as 2D assemblages. These discarded materials allow me to build, deconstruct, rip, tear, cut, mold and manipulate forms reflecting the deaths we meet within life. The nuanced surfaces help to define the ravage nature of survival and the forced patterns created from emotional and psychological loss.

Living near the Gulf coast of Florida, I have witnessed the devastation of Hurricane Michael. By documenting the ruins of its path I am holding a mirror to life’s fragility and disaster, but also uncovering the portrait of survival. My most recent work Remains layers the imagery of the wilting flowers and the hurricane debris while drawing parallels between crumbling skeletons of houses and an encounter with ravaging illness. Defined by vivaciousness, my work embraces the natural processes of life with honesty and fervor.


Katie Barron, Canmore, Alberta

Life is short and made for enjoying. So many of the things that we interact with on a regular basis spark some small form of joy; whether it be a happy memory, a love of a particular colour, or a delicious flavour. By taking the time to fully render these simple objects I get the pleasure of exploring all of the small things that add up to something so simply joyful. Painting realism for me is an act of mindfulness meditation, spending extended hours focusing on the smallest portion of something that creates happiness and teasing apart what exactly it is that I enjoy so deeply.

In my work I draw inspiration from both everyday modern objects but also from the old masters in the form of capturing dramatic lighting to build an emotional connection with the viewer. By contrasting colourful, joyful objects with deep shadows I invite the viewer to create an emotional connection as well as see these objects on their own, outside of the influence of anything

Kristine Thompson, Baton Rouge, LA

My creative work examines social and emotional responses to death, how we mourn, and the memorial properties attached to particular objects and spaces as we grieve. My work also increasingly considers how photographs circulate—particularly photographs of death or mourning—and how a photographic image might elicit empathy.

My most recent work, Images Seen to Images Felt, is an on-going series of photograms that I make by pressing light-sensitive gelatin silver print paper up to my laptop screen in the darkroom. They are direct impressions of digital images that I have collected from a range of online newspapers. I turn these virtual images into tangible prints to facilitate a slowed-down way of considering difficult contemporary events that have become too easy to scroll past. Collectively, these photograms become an archive of loss and the grieving that follows.


Ashley Czajkowski,
Expedition Leader

The human relationship with nature is a tenuous one. We are at once a part of the natural world, yet intentionally set apart from it. I am interested in this disconnect; our refusal as a species to admit that we, too, are animals. There is a sense of savagery that comes with being an animal, being wild. We have been taught to become something other, to become domesticated. There is loss in this becoming. Though all experience this (false) dichotomy between humans and nature, the accepted social construction of femininity is much further removed from the nature of the human animal.

Historically, women who exhibited wild, uncontrollable, or generally undesirable behavior were considered dangerous and mentally unstable. Witch hunts and medical disorders like hysteria illustrate the collective psychoanalytical fear of the “female monster,” and this chastising of unbecoming female behavior lingers to this day. Because femininity is the gender I learned to perform first-hand, the relationship of women and nature is highlighted in my work, drawing connections to sensuality, fertility and the maternal instinct.

Exploring these intrinsic, wild tendencies deep-seated in us all challenges societal expectations of women and men, our relationship to the natural world, our own corporeal existence, and ultimately, our mortality. I'm interested in how harnessing these innate primal desires presents the possibility of reclamation; of re-wilding the human, of unbecoming.



Sharon Stevens, Calgary, Alberta

I am a media artist, curator, and community celebrationist. My art practice is externalized as community-based and collaborative projects evidenced by Id Collective, Council of Community Conveyors, Finding the P Spot, and OX A Crash Course on Loving Calgary. These projects along with all the artists mobilized to participate in the Equinox Vigil point to my belief that by working together we can create experiential beauty.

In 2012 I initiated and now annually produce Equinox Vigil in Union Cemetery. I bring together artists and Calgarians of every stripe and persuasion in a free, non-denominational event to honour the dead and reflect on the universal experience of death. The result is beautiful, multi-disciplinary, participatory, enchanted and unforgettable.

I personally contribute a media art installation called Digital Shrine "Our notes, having been turned simply into light, roll up the screen like credits, a kind of contemporary paper-burning ceremony.  Lindsay Sorell writer Equinox Vigil Commemorative book 2017

As a socially-engaged artist I am as likely to be giving a talk at an artist-run centre as leading the charge in a performance/protest piece dressed up as oil-drenched duck. This kind of work is invigorating and exhausting. I find a sense of humour along with embodying creativity is essential for well beings. Finding a balance for restorative solitude is also a life goal.


Regan Henley
, Syracuse, NY

Death is the only sure, universal thing in this world. Still, it is something most of us only approach with meekness when it is at our own doorstep. We have grieved and cared for our dead for all of history, yet when the time comes for us, we find ourselves paralyzed.

We are unsure how to feel, what we’re allowed to feel, and how it looks to others. Despite the myriad of healthy ways and methods grief manifests culturally, spiritually and individually, it is all too easy to rob ourselves of the experience of grief in some form or another for fear to embracing our grief in its entirety. In doing this, we lose out on the valuable realizations of of our own mortality as well.

As an artist, I am interested in using digital technology and art therapeutic elements to explore and promote healthy grieving, provide an alternative to end of life anxiety, and find new ways of expressing ritual, and continuing bonds with our deceased.

My work investigates intersections of emotional intimacy in conjunction with new digital technologies and internet culture. I am interested in cultural perceptions of death and dying in the digital era, as well as using art to interrogate evolving forms of grieving and mourning rituals perpetuated online and through new forms of media.

Though disparate in medium and method, my works aim to use language and symbolism as a vehicle to move through trauma, and grief. In these personal, cathartic and at times, darkly humorous works I explore concepts of loss, ritual, and the healing power of tenderness and honesty.



Sandrine Schaefer, Waltham, MA

Using a site-sensitive approach, my work asks how bodies measure time while enduring
institutional mediation, shared space and other external forces. My work often presents as performance art installations that propose ways to share time not accessible elsewhere in life. Through the use of surreal imagery and subtle auditory and olfactory components, I create situations for audiences to gather around that break traditional viewing behaviors. I do this by deprivileging sight as the primary sense to engage the work; rewarding curious viewers; and using extended duration and repetition to cultivate spaces for return. My work tends towards material sparseness to draw attention to what is readily available in a site and has a low-impact on the physical environment. I have made work in hundreds of art and non-art designated spaces across the globe since 2004.


Ashley Wasilewski
, Newton, MA

In my work I investigate ways to create physical representations of human mentality and
internal struggle. Through a rigorous research practice that translates into performance I bring to life manifestations of mental illness, intimacy, death and the relationship between the limits of the body and the power of the mind. The conceptual aspects of my work is driven by the human experience: the universal and the persona; By creating a visual manifestation of the human experience through performance, I am able to create physical translations of my experiences and simulate control of what I often do not have conscious control over, which in turn teaches me to cope and heal. We all die, but not all humans experience mental illness, or being queer. Everyone has a different experience in life. My performances represent both my personal experiences as well as human nature as a whole. My aim is to research, discover and communicate what it means to be a human being through performance.  

Lauril Baril, Ottawa

In my work I reference myself, as well as images of family members to create
melodramatic narrative paintings. I explore the development of identity through
memory and experiences of growing up. Aging is something that we all have in
common, but is also individual to each of us. Through my paintings I attempt to
reveal and personify the anxieties of experiences that come with age, such as
loss or trauma. There is often a balance of abjection and comedic relief in my
paintings, as our own mortality is a theme that is both a heavy topic and
something that cannot be taken too seriously.

A common theme in my paintings is the exploration of the body through its
deterioration, its many stages of development, as well as struggles with body
image. I suggest that issues with body image can heighten one’s realization of
their temporality. I specifically explore struggles with body dysmorphia and
eating disorders that may be experienced as a way to control and cope with
fears of coming into womanhood, growing old, and death.  

Brad Modlin, Nebraska

I live on the lookout for what makes humans human. People experience self-consciousness. Giraffes don’t get embarrassed. Therefore, the feeling of being the isolated, odd-one-out actually connects us to our species. My last book of poems, Everyone at This Party Has Two Names, considers self-consciousness in humorous and serious ways. It explores feeling like the oddball, the only unhip party guest who has just one first name and cannot keep track of everyone else’s two—names they keep switching between as the night progresses.

            Unlike animals, humans know we will pass away and mark our days by avoiding signs of its approach (aging). But Federico García Lorca said that the poet seized by duende—the impulsive, creative force—always remembers that death approaches. My current projects include fiction about fasting—ascetics bringing the body to its livable limit. My poems are laced with death and resurrection.

We have had the pleasure of adventuring with the following artists

Resident artists in their own words
Click on images for more info


Margaret Haydon, Wyoming

Using primarily ceramic processes, I work with image elements from the natural world, focusing on aspects of current environmental change and the resulting impact on habitat and species populations.  I have worked specifically with sturgeon imagery for the past nine years, depicting the animal in contexts that reference their habitat, history and endangered status.  Through this specific investigation, I have grown increasingly interested in the broader environmental predicament.  While currently the endangered sturgeon species is a central image in my work, other species are beginning to appear. Each day brings a new article highlighting the degradation of various species from sturgeon and shark, to bee, brown bat and golden frog.  We live in the company of animals, often unaware of our effect on their populations.  I am fascinated by the incredible rate at which species arise and disappear.  We are all witnesses now of great, swift changes taking place in our natural world.  With this work I hope to spark a broader thoughtfulness about the impact we are having on our physical environment.

my mother has lost her ability to see only one moon
four ways of looking and more when she takes her glasses off
another and another wrapping around each other dimming with each iteration

Samantha (Sammy) Moore, Berthoud, CO

My poetry examines the human condition, and particularly the relationships between the waking human world, and the nocturnal world of the night. An obsessive love of bats quickly became the inspiration to explore night and how people and animals relate to it. Throughout the process of writing the Critical Thesis for my MFA, I developed several experimental embodiment practices, in order to immerse myself in the world of the bats, including inverted writing, night writing experiments, and nocturnal writing practice, wherein all composition took place at night, often outdoors. I am currently continuing work on a poetic manuscript, tentatively titled Nightscapes; this extended landscape poem explores the interplay of humans and what I like to call nightness by presenting various scenes of night that incorporate both the natural and the human world. Not only is the project intended to be a piece of eco-poetry that delves into human relationships with night, it also incorporates themes of Disability Poetics, including sleep disorders and chronic illness. I think the Nocturne residency is the perfect fit for me to further explore the night, its glorious inhabitants, and to utilize scientific resources that may aid the development and creative expansion of my current work.


Katie St Clair

Foraging for mushrooms has become a meditative practice for me. It is my way of engaging the senses, of absorbing the rush of rich and subtle colors, forms, scents, textures, and tastes that surround me in the woods. My paintings are a reflection of immersion in those environments, an attempt to articulate them in another language, to visualize that which cannot be seen, or described in words. Abstraction of these forms allows me to communicate the complex subtlety of non-linear ecosystems, and the transformative power of encountering them, in all their strangeness, wonder, and awe. When brought to the studio, experimental technique transforms collected fungal forms into unconventional paint texture, while fungal dyes and plant extractions add new elements to my repertoire of art materials. The hunt for colors and new elements found growing--or dying—in the soil keeps pulling me back to the rugged forest terrain.
My solo exhibition “Fruiting Bodies” was featured on Creative Loafing- Charlotte. ( I have extensive experience with cross-disciplinary collaborations with scientists, sociologists and naturalists. I recently completed a $50,000 mural commission for Northern Kentucky University’s Health and Innovation Center. The mural focuses on cycles of healing in the native ecosystem.


Melanie Fisher, Buffalo, NY

My sculptures are organic and otherworldly. With influences from nature and sci-fi, I build large forms that are new hybrids of species, with mixed characteristics from the plant and animal kingdom. By working in a range of scales and mediums, I explore the connections between our micro and macro worlds, imagining the opportunity to discover something previously unknown.

The details in my work focus on the relationship between interior and exterior space, drawing the viewer in for closer inspection. By leaving small anomalies in each piece, I invite the viewer to explore and discover something they’ve never seen. I am currently focusing on round, bulbous forms to reflect fertility, sometimes filling an interior space with hundreds of seeds. My interest in seeds correlates with a current project that will be installed in the Buffalo and Erie Botanical Gardens in Buffalo, New York, during the summer of 2019.


Dani Dale, Saskatoon, SK

In Dani Dale’s multi-media works she explores the themes of identity, femininity, loss, and the limitations and consequences of established gender roles.  She draws upon personal experience and the death of her mother as well as current issues such as climate change, environmental degradation, and food accessibility.

In opposition to the limits that gender roles place on women, Dale’s body of work strives to be free of such limitations. She works with several mediums and her practice includes but is not limited to sculpture, photography, video, and installation.
In her sculptural work, Dale uses metal and plant life as her primary materials. The tension between the organic and untamed aspects of nature and manufactured structure is the inspiration for her work. Dale addresses this tension on a personal level questioning the constructed form of femininity that is imposed on us as we grow up and the consequences of those impositions. This tension reaches far beyond the personal realm, it can be seen on a global level as we face the reality of the consequences of global degradation and climate change.

Dale’s photography uses barren landscapes printed in cyanotype to address both the barren inner landscape that the imposition of a constructed femininity creates as well as a warning of what is to come on a large scale if we choose to continue seeing ourselves as separate and superior to the earth.

Dale’s exploration of limitation and separation isn’t limited to gender roles. In the final years of her BFA at the University of Saskatchewan, she was the student leader of Usask STEAM; a collaboration among artists and engineers. Usask STEAM created several collaborative works including an installation for Saskatoon’s Nuit Blanche 2016. Inspired by Olafur Eliasson’s multi-disciplinary practice and belief that art is the starting point for social change, collaboration has become an important motivation in her work. She has worked with people from a variety of different disciplines including engineering, drama, and microbiology.


Markus Haala
, Lowell, MA

What is nature and what is natural? These questions become progressively harder to answer as the impact of human intervention into the ecosphere expands. The same questions inform my interdisciplinary and research- based studio practice, which is committed to explore and survey environmental and ecological systems.
Informed by object-oriented ontology and motivated by critically reviewing naturalistic positions, my work discusses new definitions of nature originating from the Anthropocene, the term for the geological age in which human intervention into the ecosphere has become the foremost influence on climate and environment.

Topics of how we outline, perceive and shape concepts of the natural and the artificial, the organic and the synthetic, are central aspects that inform my work. I investigate these themes from a viewpoint located at the intersection of post-structuralist theory and the philosophical foundation of contemporary environmental studies. I review existing models of nature, environmentalism and ecology that are generally based on
commonly accepted, representational structures of nature in western history, established by institutions such as museums of natural history. My research results are translated into project-based, conceptual installations that explore the collapsing nature-culture distinction through an examination of materials, images, and sculptural objects. My work engages in both institutional critique as well as the interrogation of our role in shaping the world through augmented technologies. Crossing from sculpture and print media into multifaceted arrangements of assemblages and educational displays, I often work with industrial resources that are part of the ongoing modification of the natural world, including light, (ply)wood, electronics, cast plastics, or metals. All of these components are frequently in dialog with organic matter to underline the dichotomy of object and subject, from a semiotic perspective, when it comes to the question of what nature apparently is, what it is not, and how our understanding often collides with it.






Shelly Smith, Expedition Leader
Washington DC

My paintings are based on microscopic life I find in water samples taken from all over the world. My process includes collecting water samples, documenting the site locations, and observing the contents with a laboratory microscope. I work both from direct live observation as well as from a series of videos and pictures I record via my microscope camera.

The work I produce is inspired by the tradition of scientific illustration and popular decorative motifs. Done in pen and ink with gouache washes, the illustrated paintings reflect the protozoa, diatoms, algae, and other microscopic life that lives in abundance, hidden from the naked eye but a vital part of our living world. The jewel like beauty of microorganisms sparkles through in glistening colors and metallic sheen, with bold line work reflecting the outlines of these small creatures under a slide.


Sophie Durbin, Minneapolis

I am a multidisciplinary artist and curator interested in places, spaces and the body. I am inspired by the infinite capabilities – and horrors – of the nervous system. Other interests that inform my artistic practice include the study of lakes and tides, science-based somatic approaches to massage/bodywork/dance, modern vernacular architecture, medieval art history and idle walks. I have lived in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and currently reside in Minnesota. The landscapes/cityscapes of the Midwest and Great Lakes play a significant part in my work. Ongoing projects include installations and performances situated in the fictional town of Corrty Pye, Michigan and activities & exhibitions at Pancake House, a multipurpose art space in Minneapolis, where I am developing an Early Spring Haptics Lab. The lab will be a series of experimental programs concerning interaction through touch. I am in the preliminary stages of development for a series of programs on limnology in the summer.


Jamie Ramsay, Chicago

My work combines photography, leatherwork, documentation and natural dying.  My photographic work has focused on the traditional cultures and their arts, sustainable and natural living, and the sustainable food movement.   Since picking up leather craft in the past few years, I’ve become increasingly interested in utilization of organic materials as a return to sustainable production of everyday goods.  I seek to resurrect traditional techniques that phase out environmentally pernicious materials like plastic and make use of materials from the earth.  Creating bags, housewares and functional goods from leather, cork and cotton has become an extension of my artistic practice as a photographer and documentarian.

In 2017, I went to Sweden to learn old world, organic techniques for tanning fish skin.  Fish skin tanning is an old craft that waned in popularity for many reasons, including its connotation of being a necessity for the poor, in lean, pre-war times.   However, it’s a less land-taxing form of leather, equal in strength to bovine leather, which also makes use of food production waste material.  Its sustainability has been a focus of my work in the last year.  I would like to research the aquatic environment to inform fish tanning and expand my work in more closed loop systems of creation that make beautiful, responsible and utilitarian materials from the sea.



Jennifer Croney Chernak, Philadelphia

Painting for me is similar to a contemplative hike, where attention to footing and vistas stretch my thoughts away from the busyness of everyday happenings. My landscape paintings are done outside, and my still lifes include the outdoors as seen through a window. My subject matter can include wind, heat, cold, rain, and sunlight -- all of which are of an essence not as solid as a tree or rock. This along with a bold use of color and energetic lines add an abstract feel to my work. Through my paintings, I honor fresh air and the freedom of expressing without formulas and the noise of technology. I begin a painting by establishing general shapes and gestures to show movement. Each layer of acrylic paint records moments in terms of light, shadows, and impacts from weather. The accumulation of layers reflects the passage of time. In the final stages of each painting, I make adjustments that become my emotional imprint. Such changes can include calming a space or adding definition to bring forth an area. The painting evolves and becomes a representation of the entanglement of nature and personal intention.


Susan Murrell
, Oregon

My creative practice has recently focused on the universal and personal process of experiencing presence through absence— a struggle to know a thing from the hole it has left behind after it is gone. I am interested in finding fullness in the void and recognizing meaning or purpose in the space between. Considering the moral/cultural implications of negative and positive space(s) I aim to confuse the two. It is perhaps a small shift in perspective, but it has become an important inversion for me.

My work explores how our concept of landscape has changed through technology. The horizon traditionally defined our relationship to the world; now with our expanding perspective, we feel a kinship with microscopic images and aerial views of planets. Vestiges of built environments, architecture, or even graphic design and remnants of popular culture have been added to our visual language and create for us a sense of place. In this context, I consider myself a landscape painter.



Sidi Chen, Vancouver

 I was born on the shoreline of southeastern China by the Pacific and raised up among the Fuquan people –the people of “Giving back to the water from where we harvest”. Water has thus become the material of home, the habitat of the soul, and inspiration of art for me.  I’ve been travelling transcontinental the past 10 years, along the Pacific coasts, across Canada to the Atlantic Ocean, paddling down the Yukon River, and over hundreds of ponds, rivers, and lakes. Everywhere I go, I am drawn to the mythologies, tales, customs, rituals, knowledge, studies, and environmental issues of the water resources and the human and non-human communities. For me, water is the physical body that reflects the states of cultures and well beings of the residents in its watershed territories.

As a body archiving artist who uses the body as the unit of measurements, the device of receptions, storage of experiences, and translator of arts, I take every chance to throw myself into the water and merge into its system. I desire to learn its language, tempers, emotions, and the relationship between water and the creatures of its nurturing.



Barbara Bushey, Michigan

My work is an exploration of what is hidden and what is revealed—whether in a visual, emotional or historical sense. Working with layers, both physically and visually, allows me to explore this complexity.

In making quilts inspired by the Great Lakes, I used ancient shibori techniques to create images of rocks and water. The repetitive motions required of the techniques echo the repetitive motions of the Great Lake’s waves hitting the shore. The infinite variety of each unique wave and stitch is absorbed into the constant and enduring whole.

I am very excited to learn more about water, in all its different forms, and in the ways others interact with this precious resource. Water is life.


Shannon Amidon, Expedition Leader
Portland, Oregon

Drawn to the alchemical nature of the process, I use the ancient medium of encaustic (molten beeswax) and often incorporate organic, upcycled and cast off materials to create my mixed media pieces. I love using materials that have a nostalgic, pensive, or mysterious feeling. I have a strong emotional connection to well-worn objects that have been through many hands. Sometimes I feel the essence of their history reflected in my art. My subject matter includes a variety of natural history elements including insects, trees, botanicals, seed pods, and birds as well as ancient symbolism and geometry. My artwork explores the cycles of life, calling attention to its transitory and fragile nature. I’m enthralled and intrigued by the natural sciences, and I feel that especially in this technology-driven age we need reminders of the briefness of life and wonders of the natural world. Broadly my artwork explores themes of nature, science and our environmental impact. The cycles of life, death and impermanence play a primary role in my work.  By interlacing science, art and reminiscence I strive to create pensive and familiar images that transport the viewer to another time and place, evocative of a moment filled with exploration, wonder and discovery.

Jennie Clark, Ontario

Jennie Clark is an active visual artist, art educator and student of natural science.
Jennie worked professionally as a graphic designer, art director and illustrator for twenty years, following graduation with honours from Ontario College of Art (OCADU). In 2006 she expanded her knowledge of contemporary art practices and graduated with honours from Georgian College Advanced Fine Art program, receiving awards for printmaking and sculpture. Her imagery is inspired by natural phenomena and an innate connectivity to the natural world, often revealed in layering and use of organic materials.

Jennie is the originator of the Simcoe Watershed Art Project, an artist collective focused on bringing artists together to express their interest in the beauty, diversity and concern for the lands and waters encircling Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching.
She offers watercolour and printmaking workshops and classes and has enjoyed presenting at the MacLaren Art Centre,Barrie; Barrie Art Club, Barrie, Quest Gallery, Midland, the Town of Innisfil and Orillia Museum of Art and History.


Nancy Yule

The aroma of melting beeswax. Intoxicating. Playing with fire. Seductive. Coaxing wax to alter its form; solid to liquid and back again, is what I love to do. The term encaustic means to burn in. Encaustic Wax. The combination of beeswax combined with damar resin, fused in countless layers. An enduring art medium with an unequivocal lustre and richness. I am humbled with the complexity of this organic material and am privileged to create artwork with it.

I work intuitively building layers of shape, colour, symbolism and abstract composition. I love blending the warmth of fibre with the encapsulation of hardened encaustic wax to reveal an unique mergence of mediums. Always challenging myself with breaking tradition and exploring new material combinations.




Mara Eagle, Montreal, QC

Through a combination of video, sound and installation, I explore the ways in which Western philosophy and science have formulated a concept of nature through discursive, methodological and representational means. Focusing on the production and consumption of spectacle, I turn to feminist theory and the history of painting to probe how 'the gaze' usually spoken of in relation to depictions of female bodies, can be mapped onto the scientific observation of natural phenomena. For example because nature is often personified as a woman, ‘unlocking’ and ‘revealing’ its ‘secrets’ and ‘hidden treasures’ carries explicitly erotic and fetishistic undertones. Likewise, the gendered metaphors so frequently inscribed into accounts of wildlife behavior harness nature as a kind of looking glass that naturalizes social norms. In examining this relationship, I wonder how do visualization technologies (microscopes, telescopes, cameras, etc.) inform ways of seeing and relationships structured by paradigms of sight?

Nature documentaries, botanical gardens, illustrated atlases, and encyclopedic museums provide visual reservoirs informing the vocabulary of my practice. I am interested in televised representations of nature in mainstream media, where it is often polarized into two extreme categories. While on the one hand associated with sites of disaster in the fall out of hurricanes, fires, floods, etc., on the other hand, landscapes are iconic in commercials promoting luxury travel, health and relaxation. Whether the agent of sublime destruction or the sanctuary for spiritual wellness, landscape imagery circulates with charged significance. 

The project I set for myself is to make work that operates exuberantly on an aesthetic level. Collage is a core dimension of my practice, facilitating cross-contamination between the realms of popular culture, scientific vernaculars, the Internet and technology industries. Working with green-screen allows me to force conflicting information together in enigmatic ways that never resolve and are often humorous. In the midst of an environmental crisis, my work speaks to the philosophical underpinnings of the categories of the natural, the human and the feminine, exploring how through modes of representation these concepts are circulated.


Amanda Besl, Buffalo, NY

I am interested in the arbitrary curation of gardening and the warfare that ensues from these choices. Frothing bubbles fade to reveal porcelain rose petals macerated and mangled by the bejeweled and ethereal bobbing corpses of drowning Japanese beetles. They tread water in the murky deathtrap of a liquid measuring cup, suggested by the round panel of the oil painting that straddles simultaneous attraction and repulsion, hyperrealism and abstraction. This duality causes both rational and irrational distinctions and subconscious prejudices to bob to the surface of our awareness. Beautiful and repulsive they exist together for a liminal time, a slow read that can’t be unread.

My process began while tending my own garden and escorting these beautiful marauders to their soapy tomb. This work is a departure from early work exploring botanical debris visible through the translucent ‘skin’ of plastic yard waste bags. I liken these paintings to America’s current turbulent political climate, in which distinctions become lost in confusion and distortion.


Joanne Price, Bagdad, Kentuky

In my studio practice, I explore multiple solutions to resolve problems or questions presented. Printmaking’s multiple nature allows me to create different versions of the same image on different paper, with different colors, collaged, and in sculptural form. My ideas often emerge from folk/fairy tales, everyday life, science, and nature — often explored through series. A long-term artist’s book project, Beneficial Insects, has stretched my skills and helped me reconnect with my love of nature while refining my ideas through research, experimentation, careful composition, and varied presentation (book, print, installation, sculpture). Utilizing micro and macro perspectives I strive to connect art and science in a way that I hope pushes past mere illustration.

I inevitably come across a very interesting avenue to explore during the research or execution phase of my ideas. I like to stay open to these side journeys because they are often experimental and important in finding new ways to express my ideas or to look at what I am doing with fresh eyes. The piece Arilus Cristatus Epoch was directly influenced by Maria Sibylla Merian’s work and illustrates an attempt to make connections between insects, earth, sky and human activities



  Alyssa Ellis, Expedition Leader

Ellis is an Albertan born artist who has an ongoing love affair with botanical poison. She studies, documents and seeks out poisonous plants that can be found growing naturally within the province of Alberta. Through the process of her work, she studies the relationships between plants and people, and the dependence one has on the other.

“I’m in a constant ongoing, revolving and dissolving love affair with botanical life. We work together, play together and by all means narrate together in order to further develop our complicated relationship. While multidisciplinary in nature, the experimental research of our stories fluctuates between textiles, drawing, performance and installation. Despite always connecting back to the idea of plant storytelling, I strive to do nothing more than to unearth stories that delve into nature’s darker side.”


Naomi Renouf, Channel Islands

As a textile artist and painter, I am constantly inspired and awed by the beauty of the natural environment. Although most of my work is a reflection of the coast, the countryside and the flora of my native island, I have travelled widely and produced work representing many different locations.

My work is an expression of my emotional reaction to what I see in a world we should be taking better care of. I strive to produce something which is more than simply a visual representation of the subject matter. I take photographs as a reference but usually rely mostly on the images inside my head and by utilising these, the tactile and visual qualities of the materials I use and also the unpredictable things that occur during the process, I can interact with the work in a spontaneous way.

I sometimes work with textiles alone and occasionally I just use paint but at other times I combine the two. Painting has influenced the way in which I approach textiles and conversely the way that I paint has been affected by my use of textiles. For me, the tactile qualities of textiles can often say more than paint alone.



Laara Cerman, British Columbia

Laara Cerman’s work explores the intersection of art, science, history and the themes of impermanence, a return to nature, and the fragility of life. She creates her photographs by capturing multiple digital images and then pieces them together in postproduction, a skill she has mastered through working as a freelance retoucher in the commercial photography industry. 

Currently, she creates her digital images using a regular, flatbed, office scanner rather than a sophisticated camera. Paradoxically, the crude scanner produces images that appear hyper-real in part due to their macro and larger-than-life clarity that emphasizes extreme detail one would normally have difficulty seeing with the naked eye. The images have an extremely narrow depth of field and low luminosity, an affect that cannot be achieved directly through studio lighting or with a camera. This makes the subject appear floating in a black void of space, creating a feeling akin to a momento mori.

She is currently focused on documenting the wild plants of British Columbia for one of her more recent series Codex Pacificus.



Jo Tito, New Zealand

I am a full time Māori artist, indigenous to Aotearoa, NZ. My creativity is a collaboration with nature and my ongoing project Earth - Water - Light - Stone is a merging of nature with photography, paint, words and digital media to share stories of connection that speak for the environment and for humanity.

My current projects include: Walking in Circles - a creative collaboration with Inuit artist
and film-maker Stacey Aglok and an ongoing relationship with Intercreate - an organisation that nurtures art, science, technology collaborations with a focus on environmental issues.

I am also a passionate gardener! I document the growing of my garden through words and photography which you can see on Instagram or Facebook . My garden is my spiritual space for healing, reflection, learning and creativity - everything is there. Many of my ideas and learning come from growing my garden and contemplating with nature. I
also have a small nursery at home where I grown native trees for regeneration and many medicinal plants both native to Aotearoa and of other lands. I value my Taranaki and Te Arawa ancestral roots. I am inspired by the lives that my ancestors lived and the inspiration that they lived with nature. They had such a respect for nature that is intrinsic and deeply embedded in our art forms and language. Our language is so beautiful, it all connects back to nature and so I draw on this knowledge in my quest to create art that speaks for the environment.


Rocio Graham, Calgary

I have always been connected to the land and I find comfort working with nature in my art practice; this connects me to home and defines my identity. Inspired by artists like Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jan De Heem, and other Dutch still life masters; the garden is my muse.

Most of my work starts the moment I plant a seed and continues as I nurture it through the stages of maturity, flowering, and decay when it becomes soil for future plants. Mine is a labour intensive process that allows me to explore the landscape as a physical and mystical space where time and nature become my creative allies. I use organic materials that are methodically planned, nursed, and harvested according their aesthetic qualities for later use in my compositions; similar to how a painter uses pigments to create. From seed to harvest, to the creation of a still life, a year can pass. Allowing time to pass keeps me attuned to nature’s cycles. I have found many parallels between the landscape and my inner garden; an inner landscape that shifts and ebbs with the seasons.

Rocio Graham is a photographer currently based in Calgary. Born in Mexico, she emigrated to Canada in 2002, studying art at Emily Carr University and the Alberta University of the Arts (ACAD), where she recently obtained a Bachelor of Design in Photography. Her still lives are influenced by her cultural heritage, experiences as a woman and mother, trauma survivor and reflections on life cycles. She explores the landscape from a body engagement perspective where labour, mysticism, and temporality merge. Rocio was selected as a finalist in the Womankind photographers award in Australia. After graduation, she was nominated for the BMO 1st Art invitational competition and has received various scholarships and grants. She is currently a mentor for the ACADSA Hear/d Art Residency. She is represented by Christine Klassen Gallery.


Anna’s hummingbird takes 250 breaths per minute when at rest, her heart beating 1,220 times per minute during flight. In her tiny body. The haze from the fires. So thick this air. Her flight the brightest light. This afternoon. Her lungs working harder than her wings.

Kyo Maclear
, Toronto

In 2017, I published a hybrid memoir titled Birds Art Life (Doubleday Canada.) My challenge in writing this book was to focus on the small, unspectacular and the non-pristine. I wanted to test the boundaries of nature writing—what is it? Who does it? Who is it for? For example, one constraint I set myself was to do all my nature trekking within the boundaries of Toronto. I was hoping to tap people into the understory of the city. The invisible, all that we cannot see, is very attractive to me. I’ve come to realize we grasp only a tiny fraction of what’s actually going on around us—and this is to our, and the living world’s, great detriment. It’s not an exaggeration to say we are disastrously disconnected from the more-than-human living world.

The book I ended up writing is structured around excursions with a unique nature guide—a musician named Jack Breakfast. Over the next 12 months, as I accompanied him through seasonal shifts and migrations, on a shambly odyssey around the city, through lousy weather and near-accidents, I began to learn the names of the birds I saw. For the first time in my life, I felt myself tangibly connected to the elements and the wild side of the city. I began to wonder if the core lessons of birding could be applied to other aspects of life.

Writing the book made me think more deeply about friendship and the possibility of taking our time and giving our time freely to each other. It also made me think about ‘bird time’ as opposed to ‘survival time’. And by ‘survival time’ I mean the time of ‘not stopping,’ of ceaseless agitation in servicing one’s precarious occupation. ‘Self-optimising’… ‘Faster better stronger’… I think what risks becoming completely trivial and almost incommunicable amid the haste of our historical moment is the feeling that arises when we pass time together—say, for instance, in a “Parliament of Owls”. I am interested in reflecting on what happens when we become bounded together, temporally, in a community, when we come to love and fight for things together that are other than or greater than our individual selves and self-interests.


Jane Tingley, Kitchener, ON

At its core – my installation practice is as concerned with traditional sculptural questions such as the coherence of materiality and the arrangement of objects in space, as it is with the viewers’ embodied experience as they engage with the art work. I am interested in creating environments that function metaphorically, in discovering new ways of addressing embodiment, and thinking about how the body can have meaningful interactions with technological environments or systems. I use materiality and the physicality of the installation as a metaphor, and create sensory rich environments that allow for meaning to emerge through experience and exploration.

Alongside my Installation practice I have also work collaboratively on different projects
including wearable robotics, gestural games, and my recent Internet of Things inspired
distributed sculpture. These new works draw on expertise from multiple disciplines in an effort to create aesthetic experiences that push the boundaries of interactivity and playfulness, and offer an experience to the viewer that is accessible both intellectually and technologically.

Beyond my studio practice I also curate exhibitions. My curatorial interests lie in showing work that critically engages with technology and its intersection with human experience. I am equally interested in interdisciplinary collaboration as impetus for critical creation, as I am in the aesthetics of interaction between the art object and the participant/viewer.



Michelle Bunton, Expedition Leader
Ontario, Canada

Rooted in a space of paradox, my practice attempts to question the mnemonic capacity of technology as an archival medium, dismantling the notion of the video or sound record as an absolute or concrete preservation of the body/psyche. Creating multi-media, sculptural installations, my work aims to mirror a high-intensity atmosphere in which technological, human, and material bodies compete and grate against one another in a perseverance towards preservation. My practice is further influenced by a critical interest in neutrality, passivity and Quantum Theory’s concept of “potentia,” which is defined as an intermediary layer of reality that exists halfway between the physical reality of matter and the intellectual reality of the image. I consider technology-based archives to occupy this intermediate reality, offering a critical venue through which to examine larger themes, such as gender, sexuality, death and decay.


Annie Dunning, Guelph, Ontario

Our relationship with nature is messy. I feel an affinity to Donna Haraway’s ideas of Staying with the Trouble (2016, Duke University Press). My work does not offer answers for how we should interact with other creatures in this compromised environment; instead, I try to expand areas of commonality through observations and small discoveries that can, through lateral thinking, indicate a mutual effect of one upon another. I would like to position human and more-thanhuman relationships as adaptive collaborations: developing on a parallel course and mutually influencing the developments of one another. It is clear that we have an impact on the species around us, how in turn are we affected by them?

In my work, I examine intersecting elements of culture and the so-called natural world, conflated to create new, hybrid ideas. Through my multidisciplinary practice, I explore what greater possibilities flora, fauna and fungi might hold if released from their expected roles. I find the grey areas between the human world and the cultures of other species to be fascinating spaces for speculation. Using a project-based approach to making, I confuse conventional hierarchies by playing with the interconnections and interactions between humans and the rest of the natural world. Over the past ten years, sound has become an integral component of my work.


Tara Dougans, Montreal

I am a Montréal-based artist whose work explores inner and outer reflections of the natural world; my intention is to cultivate sensitivity and space within the body in order to attune more fully to waking experience. Understanding the body as instrument, and experience as harmonic, I am fascinated by soundscape ecology (the relationship between emotional intelligence and environmental intelligence) and the pre or paraverbal. What is the experience (space remembered) of the space between, before, words? How can working with voice, breath and silence reflect and/or spark hidden relationships between what we see and what we know? And how does that intuitive sense of knowing inform what and how we see ?

The interplay between my painting and moving-image work is an exercise towards listening to, performing, recording and/or translating unseen (unheard) soundscapes through self-intuited process. Self-taught as a filmmaker and oriented towards the immediacy of hand-based media, resonance communication, deep listening, high sensory registration and enquiry into the unseen but somehow, somewhere known, guide process and response.


Kelly Markovich, Dartmouth, NS

Kelly Markovich is an interdisciplinary artist, interested in photography, sound, textiles, installation and mixed media.

Using memory and storytelling as a catalyst, personal or shared, much of Kelly’s work has predominantly focused on large-scale photographic images printed and displayed on unconventional materials like Tyvek (a breathable, membranous material used in the house building process). Slightly skewed and altered, various means are used to disrupt the convention of “what we know” by way of digital manipulation, stitching, suturing, and playing with scale, weight, and the arrangement of common domestic objects. The objects are presented within a space creating tension, which serves to represent that which is familiar, yet simultaneously strange and unfamiliar or “unheimlich”.

Thematically, Kelly’s work depicts relationships, story, and shared memory as it relates to loss, permanence, presence, and absence. Kelly is interested in collective memory and trauma, and the act of healing through the sharing of oral traditions. More recently she has begun to honour the domestic cultural skills that were passed down from the Serbian matriarch of her family lineage and invite hand needlework such as embroidery, petit point, and knitting into her art practice. Rooted in research and steeped in tradition, this process showcases the fleetingness of life and the importance of story on our own identities and histories.


Ashlee Mays, Pigeon Forge, TN

As a printmaker, most of the pieces I make derive from some kind of book structure. The structure of a book is simple and its function is intuitive. While books are generally static objects, they are built to be in motion. The spine of a book demonstrates just the right amount of flexibility to allow access. The book form is a vehicle for information, information that was important enough to mechanize and disseminate. Printmaking for me has always been about a mechanism.

It is one thing to say something, it is another thing to write it down, and it is a completely different thing to carve, engrave, design, and print that same thing. My work focuses on these symbols that signify our human desires, and their motion. Their motion through both their mechanization of production, and the way they disseminate into banality. Many of my pieces move from place to place, sometimes through space and sometimes through ownership. Printmaking provides the conceptual spine that supports my interdisciplinary practice. My art pieces are almost always interactive, asking the viewer to physically place themselves in this portrait of connectivity. Nowadays we do not rely on movable type to get us our daily news. It seems that we no longer rely on the accuracy of the artist’s hand to illustrate scientific information. Printmaking mobilized the first information revolution. We are experiencing another one, and this one did not appear out of thin air. I am looking to expose the seemingly invisible lines that connect our day to day experiences with a larger mechanism. It appears to me that Botanists are sometimes doing the same thing. The parking ticket you got last week, the souvenir from your last vacation- these artifacts all have a complex history. They quietly shape an experience that you are actively participating in.


Dominika Ksel, Brooklyn

I’m an interdisciplinary artist, activist, educator, psychonaut and investigator of invisible landscapes. My works are an ecosystem that gently deconstruct power and materiality, while exploring the interstices of consciousness, myth, science and feminism. These information networks are presented as video installations, interactive sculptures and paintings, and sound-based performances providing a tangible glimpse of various invisible phenomena, and illuminating how these imperceptible structures influence the human condition and our larger quantum reality. 

As a trained hypnotist, media researcher and archivist, I use primary research, tests, interviews and analysis to form playful and peculiar experiences, physical objects and psychoacoustic compositions. 

Through the methodology of psychonautics, I describe and explore the subjective effects of altered states of consciousness through modes such as sensory deprivation, hypnosis, meditation, sound and breath entrainment. Thus creating access and mapping information often missed due to the technologically overactive and chaotic contemporary existence drowned out by the anthrophony.

Within the systems of visual and audio works, I subvert symbols of violence and disparity through a sci-fi lens and psycho-physical language, unpacking and searching for a way to heal and explore traumas caused by a capitalist framework that has encouraged white supremacy, patriarchy, dehumanization and ecocide.




Clara Laratta, Hamilton, ON

My work explores how our experience with nature influences the way we see and interact with the world. It deals with issues of identity and is an exploration into understanding the way people behave. I find that no matter how often I stray from nature, it always enters into some aspect of my work. I am constantly questioning what it means to be human, how our experiences shape who we are and the way we see the world. Examination of these matters help me understand why people behave the way they do and how life circumstances and our experiences change us, allowing us to grow or wither. Positive impacts from human interactions with nature is of great interest.

Images are created through the execution of photographic self-portraits, images that explore subtle changes in the perception and portrayal of self. They reflect the impact of day to day experiences and interactions with others and our natural environment.     The works are based on an intimate look at self while holding a space for a look at “others” in a broader context.  Manual layering of physical properties being photographed allow many facets of research to come together in one image. 

The use of self-portraits in my work is serendipitous to someone who has an aversion to being photographed. As a female, the control and ability to represent myself as the subject rather than an object is appealing to me.  No matter what the intervention, similar to nature when it is unleashed, control is lost.  The history of photography, its ties to the history of portraiture and the new genre of selfies is also of interest and provides an opportunity for dialogue with a wide audience.  The way we live our life has meaning. The way we interact with one another and the environment leaves an impact whether we are aware of it or not. The way we interpret the world provides interest in our experience, an opportunity for discussion, and enables us each to have a unique connection to one another and our community.






Julya Hajnoczky, Expedition Leader
Calgary, Alberta

The extraordinary details of the natural world never fail to amaze me. The quiet work of plants, animals and insects, so easily ignored by humans, is what interests me the most, and what I constantly return to for inspiration. Much of my work is a sort of meditation on the interactions between people and nature, on the ways in which we attempt to control and codify nature, yet hold ourselves as somehow separate. My pieces attempt to frame the work of plants and animals in terms that are easier for humans to understand, and potentially empathize or identify with. I hope to inspire a sense of wonder or fascination, and encourage the viewer to consider the energy and resources that go into the constant cycle of building and decay in complex environments and ecosystems.

Adrian Göllner, Ottawa

I need to become a better birder. I am currently amidst the second year of a conceptual art project in which I take note of every bird I see. My art practice involves the transcription of sound, time and motion into visual forms. Recently, this has manifested in attempts to cast explosions in bronze, but this body of work began more gently as experiments in which traces of the past were conjured out of analogue technologies and given form as drawings. In 2017 I began to make lists of all the birds I saw in the day. Conceiving of my avian neighbours as a collective canary-in-the-coalmine for the environment, I thought I might begin to be able to discern patterns that portend something of our shared future. Making visual the ambient presence of birds within our midst certainly accords with nature of my practice, but the resulting exhibition - All the Birds I Saw Last Year – went further to make evident the need to observe and respect environment. My year of dedicated bird observation has only increased my desire to know more about birds.


Johanna Householder, Toronto

I like to say that I work at the intersection of popular and unpopular culture – in video, performance art, audio and choreography. My interest in how ideas move through bodies has led my often collaborative practice, and I am keenly interested in techniques of embodiment, and the histories of live art as contained between archives and repertoires. Lately, the debate around how to name the present epoch, whether from a scientific or science fictional perspective has compelled me to reconsider a repositioning of ourselves as agents in the world: Holocene, Anthropocene, Plantationocene, or Chthulucene (as Donna Haraway would have it) can assist us humans in the critically needed recognition of ourselves as only one of many animalia… and relative newcomers at that. As we collectively rethink our positions in relation to “the land” and its discontents, artistic practice has a key role to play in conceiving of alternatives to representations of other species that split “semiotic” from “material” reality. I want to work on alternative futures – and pasts – using listening and choreography as research methods. I have been working inside an image of the bird.


Mariana Gabarra Tavares Reis Teixeira, Brasil

For me, art is a way of life. It is a way to face life with curiosity, imagination and creativity. It is to transform and to be transformed. I love to be surprised by the beauty, tenderness and complexity of the daily life. Humankind and nature are two subjects that really move me and keep me intrigued. Nature - with its mixture of colors, textures, patterns, and the individuality that each living thing carries in their own – is very inspiring. The human way of expression, especially in the traditional cultures, is another theme for me. Wherever I go I try to learn from locals some crafting techniques and the history behind it. My work comes as elaborations of all these experiences. I like to explore in my creation process different supports and mediums - such as painting, photography and embroidery. Since I’ve settled my studio in a coffee farm surrounded by legal reserves, I became more aware of preservation and sustainability. I’m constantly looking for disposable materials on my surroundings and then challenge myself to incorporate them inmy work. My last series, for example, is made of used coffee sieves.







Miriam Sagan, Santa Fe

     I am a poet, not a naturalist, but my poetry often creates a “map” of a place, incorporating geography, geology, archeology, ecology, natural history, memory, and perception. I am interested in borders, what earthworks artist Robert Smithson calls “The Slurb,” the collision between the human made and the wild.
       I recently completed a book entitled “Seven Places in America: A Poetic Sojourn.” It was published by Sherman Asher Press in fall, 2012. The seven places were the start of a journey to create a land-based or site-specific. poetry. It began in 2006,  as a writer-in-residence at Everglades National Park. The next place was THE LAND/An Art Site in Mountainair, New Mexico. I started with a long poem which then  result in a low-impact sculpture, a poetry pamphlet and postcard, and several lectures in galleries and academic settings. In 2009 I had a residency in Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. This Petrified Forest residency led directly to the production of a poetry postcard series of Three Views of the Painted Desert, which I donated to the park.   


Jenna Buckingham, Philadelphia

I am a visual artist living in Philadelphia. I have enjoyed the adventurous life of a transplant since age 13, but it has given me a strange perspective on the idea of home. It seems that the creation of home is both desperate and idealistic. We make shelter with clumsy hands and unsure technique. But the flaws in these structures do open a space for desire. My work has a couple different manifestations. Through two dimensional pieces, enlarged photographic collages mix portions of generic and personal imagery, contending with the viewer’s orientation. Through three-dimensional works, objects and photographs meet in unexpected ways. The work usually involves the manipulation of regular household materials to create odd shapes, playing on the threshold between confusion and recognition.


Shelly Smith, Seatle

My paintings are based on microscopic life I find in water samples taken from all over the world. My process includes collecting water samples, documenting the site locations, and observing the contents with a laboratory microscope. I work both from direct live observation as well as from a series of videos and pictures I record via my microscope camera.

The work I produce is inspired by the tradition of scientific illustration and popular decorative motifs. Done in pen and ink with gouache washes, the illustrated paintings reflect the protozoa, diatoms, algae, and other microscopic life that lives in abundance, hidden from the naked eye but a vital part of our living world. The jewel like beauty of microorganisms sparkles through in glistening colors and metallic sheen, with bold line work reflecting the outlines of these small creatures under a slide.

I’m interested in the microcosmos, the unseen engine of life in our word that keeps creation digesting food, making oxygen, returning to dust, and springing forth anew. From blastocyst to decomposition bacteria, we’re all a bunch of beautiful, cycling cells.


Meg Nicks, Alberta

As a visual artist, the intricate details of nature are captivating. Natureʼs flow and rhythms and the interconnectivity of its patterns and design are subjects for art. The mountain environment is my major focus, an apparently solid, but infinitely changeable environment, where life, tough yet fragile, prospers in a severe world. We must look closely to appreciate all that is here. Flowers, mosses, lichen. The black patterns on aspen trees. Salamanders and seeds. Even the rusting of artifacts left behind.

Microscopy brings what is invisible to our attention. This has always interested me.
Diatoms, trilobites, the Burgess Shale creatures and views through the microscope. To
be able to photograph and have access to what is often unseen or simply unnoticed would be inspirational and assist in building my personal photographic library for use in collage.


rotutnick   Robyn Crouch, Montreal

The imagery and symbols that come through Robyn's work encourage one's gaze inward to the cellular realms. There, one discovers playful depictions of chemical processes; they are the basis for the macrocosm, and our human consciousness becomes an interface between the seen and the unseen worlds.

In her functional ceramic work, the influence of Chinese and Japanese tea ceremony encourages moments of contemplation. The viewer-participant can loose her or his train of thought while meandering through considerately composed collages of geometries, molecules, plants, and creatures, all woven together by strands of double-helical DNA. A flash of recognition. A momentary mirror.

A goal in this work is balance and harmony between the form, and the micro-mythologies encircling it. Moments of personal ritual in daily life beget even deeper, more conscious presence. Little by little over time we gain insight into what makes us tick.
Robyn’s goal is to provide a platform (however small), on which to rest, and off of which to launch forays into the luscious and potent realms of imagination, self-inquiry, and discovery during moments of solitude and engaged contemplation. So let us celebrate alone and together!




Katrina Vera Wong, Vancouver

When people ask what I do, I tell them I make flowers. And I call them Frankenflora .
In Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “What If You Slept”, a “strange and beautiful flower” is plucked from a dream in heaven and brought back to our waken world. Years after I first read this poem, after I volunteered at an herbarium, after I became fascinated with the mutability of orchids, after I lost my father, did I begin to understand just how strange and beautiful that flower was. In my grief, I was plunged into a frenzy of piecing together parts of dead flora to create—or replicate—Coleridge’s poetic flower.

I consult the study of botany and experiment with the concept of hybridization, using sections of pressed or dried plants to construct a flower, like Dr. Frankenstein and his monster. That hybrid speciation is more commonly found in plants than animals makes them the ideal media for this practice, so Frankenflora (with its variations given binomial names) may represent a species that is perhaps not altogether impossible.

We are born into this world the product of two genetic codes, but along the way we pick up bits of the people we love and bits of the things we marvel at, and in the end we leave as a whole greater than the sum of these parts. It is my hope that Frankenflora might be a balm for those who have also lost loved ones, that they might be a part of the departed to occupy the void left behind.


Yannick De Serre, Montreal

Yannick De Serre’s work is today strongly influenced by his stay in northern Quebec. Always refined, his different series testifies of the emptiness, death, calmness and the northern landscapes; through a minimalist aestheticism.

In his landscapes, above the horizon, the sky comes to life with some occasional aurora borealis, for which the artist blur the limits between the background and the form, using embossing to suggest the fluidity of the movement of this natural phenomenon. The rare appearances of color are always soft and discreet, and add a touch of life in the serenity of the work. This apparent tranquility is however fragile, as a storm on the horizon threats to topple this quiet landscape into turmoil.

Lately, Yannick work on a corpus of art talking about suicidal and death. It involved people around him. They had to think about what they would leave behind them, if they would kill themself. He started to receive fake suicidal letters. Then, for each of them, he drawed a funeral bouquet.


Ashley Czajkowski, Arizona

The human relationship with nature is a tenuous one. We are at once a part of the natural world, yet intentionally set apart from it. I am interested in this disconnect; our refusal as a species to admit that we, too, are animals. There is a sense of savagery that comes with being an animal, being wild. We have been taught to become something other, to become domesticated. There is loss in this becoming. Though all experience this (false) dichotomy between humans and nature, the accepted social construction of femininity is much further removed from the nature of the human animal.

Historically, women who exhibited wild, uncontrollable, or generally undesirable behavior were considered dangerous and mentally unstable. Witch hunts and medical disorders like hysteria illustrate the collective psychoanalytical fear of the “female monster,” and this chastising of unbecoming female behavior lingers to this day. Because femininity is the gender I learned to perform first-hand, the relationship of women and nature is highlighted in my work, drawing connections to sensuality, fertility and the maternal instinct.

Exploring these intrinsic, wild tendencies deep-seated in us all challenges societal expectations of women and men, our relationship to the natural world, our own corporeal existence, and ultimately, our mortality. I'm interested in how harnessing these innate primal desires presents the possibility of reclamation; of re-wilding the human, of unbecoming.



Ashley J. Ortiz-Diaz, Florida

My concern is to confront the viewer with a scene that is serene, yet unsettled, in order to incite a reevaluation of a proposed reality. Removing spatial planes from perspectival references (reality) allows the mind to create its own reference points. When that plane does not logically align with the edge of the picture and is furthermore made dimensional or dynamic according to unknown laws, the simple and familiar is made uncanny and other-worldly. Evoking a hole, a thin veil or perhaps a bed, the plane(s) subtly transforms within the soft grey atmospheric surroundings. The work is a representation of what it is to confront and contemplate mortality.

The underlying denial of mortality in the Western middle-class is, in part, the reason for a fear of death and a refusal to prepare for it. Death discourse should be normalized and part of our daily lives so that when we are confronted with death, we have the vocabulary and resources to die well. Through my practice, I hope to create an inviting space to discuss conception of death.



Erin Williamson, Toronto, Ontario

I like to work with found objects and exploit the colors and textures that are inherent to the materials. All of the materials I work with are chosen carefully to depict a sense of safety and struggle relating to the human body and the comfort it provides us and limits us to. I want to create a sense of nostalgia for a safe space provided by the physical womb as well as the struggle that comes with coping with our inevitable expulsion from this ephemeral place. Along with that I also portray a sense of self-repulsion that comes with my own personal constant need for comfort and validation provided by others.

My favorite material to work with is nylon and I incorporate in all of my work. I appreciate its translucent nature and the neutral tone of the material as well as how it can stretch and tear to create a sense of struggle. I like the color pink because it allows me to abstractly reference the human body and its internal organs, specifically the uterus, through man-made materials. This is why I manipulate rigid found objects into more organic shapes to create a juxtaposition between what is natural and what is not. I see all the different objects as individual pieces with unique identities working together to create a larger entity and give the viewer a sense of security. I also appreciate the idea of pink being considered a “feminine” color because I want to exploit this binary idea and express a sort of delicacy in my work through that. For me this delicacy represents something that is inherent to our being as humans who experience emotion in unique ways. My sculptures are very fragile and easy to take down. In this way they are very ephemeral and once taken apart can never be reassembled in the same way. The moment we are born we are vulnerable, pushed out of a space that kept us safe and in which I constantly long to seek the same sort of comfort and safety found within that space.


Alivia Magana, Albuquerque

Through the medium of photography, Alivia Magana explores topics related to the
medical field, the human body, specimen-hood, mortality and identity. Her interest originates from her experience working as an Morphology Technician that assists with autopsies. Through picturing objects related to autopsy, personal protective equipment and bodily fluids, she uses the camera as a mediator between this confidential realm and reflects on her experiences in autopsy.


Raimundo Nenen, Chile

After the publication of my first book of poetry at age 16, I crossed out my authorship
and disappeared behind multiple heteronyms, getting involved in various art and
everyday life collective projects. I celebrated the immanence writing poems and
drawing with chalk in the walls just before the rain. The artist dissolves in his art
and the art dissolves in the world. Worldly Art.

Draw attention to the alienation of human culture in general, and art in particular,
from our world (Earth); and to the consequences of this alienation. Rebind the
human body and culture with its territories. Bioregionalism as art. The exploration
of ourselves, our bodies, as geofacts: Intemperización.

And pornomancy: the dissolution of the fundamental binary categories of alienation
(and the imperial politics): the public and the private, through the intímate. To
intímate. To intimídate.


Ivetta Sunyoung Kang, Montreal

A phenomenon of being caught in-between the present and the past. This is what I essentially represent within durational art forms, mostly moving images. I am interested in visual transformation of ordinary objects and scapes into the state of being abstract as a lucid dream. It paradoxically awakens the linear perception of viewers and myself. The banal-becoming-abstract of video-making revitalizes the past moments captured in moving images in a site where audiences meet the pieces. Audiences’ imagination subjectively recreates the opaque imagery of what my own durational realm stimulates, based on their past and present.

With the long-existing values in my artworks, I have recently been shifting to be interested in
the decomposition of materials. Since a human perception is held by the way of seeing which I would call subjective framing, the ideas of reframing and recomposing my visuals as objective materials have been my major experimental subjects. Even though moving-images end up being caught in the audiovisual world, a single moving-image seizes potentials to turn into different substances as shown by an individual. In another word, there is no solid moving-image for my artistic belief that the dead moving-image is surely capable of returning alive in potential ways.


Allison Hunter, Houston TX

In my work the camera becomes a writing tool that records daily activities as a way to reference memories and poetic moments in time. I insert these moments into my work through video editing techniques and through projecting onto interior and exterior spaces as well as objects. In my past, I have presented my videos in a variety of ways, including guerrilla-style night projections, site-specific outdoor installations, and as part of a collaborative performance.

My interest in the “Submerged” residency stems from a new artistic focus on water, including the scarcity of drinking water and the effects of natural disasters such as flooding. Last fall, I lived through the effects that Hurricane Harvey had on the people, pets, and infrastructure of the city of Houston. I am planning a new series of video projections dealing with the trauma of that experience.


Kathryn Cooke, Alberta

As a long standing resident of the mountain community of Canmore, Alberta, as well as residing in the Columbia Valley Wetlands, outdoor spaces and in particular, the water systems of the Bow River and Columbia River, are exceedingly important to me. The subjects I choose to depict in my art are thus largely mined from these natural environments. My current artwork is also greatly influenced by my affinity for textiles. My drawing based works of art are painterly in the application of material however conceptually I am interested in weaving elements of our natural world together within a composition. The weave with its ins and outs, as well as its ups and downs, is a metaphor of life. The weaving together of different elements of life allows me to introduce a dialogue of relationships.
Water is critical to the existence of life. Life, whether plant or animal, human or other-than-human, is molded and shaped by the presence or absence of water. My  work  depicts relationships that living beings have with water and how our lives are intertwined and dependent on it.  I have explored this relationship using a variety of media including fiber  works,  mixed media and video/sound. At this critical time in our earthly existence, I feel strongly regarding all of our roles in preserving and protecting the health of our life giving water systems. My work thus extends beyond the immediate visual aesthetic to conceptual ideas of our relationships with the natural world.  


Lauren Ruiz, New York

Lauren Ruiz is a research based multimedia artist addressing ecological contamination and the corrosive effects of human activity. She is currently focusing on the amount of artificial materials that exist with human cells, and human adaptation and evolution in the age of the Anthropocene.

Ruiz’s work analyzes the social, biological and political effects of non biodegradable materials. Working within a climate fiction, specifically under the guise of a fictive corporation GLEI Inc. (Genetic Laboratories of Evolutionary Investment), she comments on the toxicity of our societal livelihood and the question of what occurs within the human body as a result. Ruiz hopes to provide an experience that questions the current state of the environmental and social climate through global and personal relationships to plastic. Her climate fiction based installation projects incorporate participatory and interactive elements that allow the audience to question their own role in the environmental downfall and what it means for the evolutionary future of humanity.



Miles Brokenshire, Toronto

Miles Brokenshire is a visual artist currently living in Toronto. He specializes in large format photography and capturing the performing arts. His view on the inherent spontaneity of movement blends into the nature of our surroundings, whether man--‐made or natural. What is often left behind in nature ends up becoming the lone dancer in the wind, in a constant state of change. We live in the moment of our contemporary existence.




Gloria Flores, Australia

I was raised in Anserma, Colombia, a small town with a population of 20,000. Life was simple, we were raised with little expectation in humble surroundings.

My back garden was our Supermarket, we had chickens, fresh eggs daily, carrots and other vegetables just a few meters from my back door. Here, every day I would help Grandmother make tortillas by hand, while listening her religious stories (we were all Catholics, of course).

She did much weaving of linen, tablecloths and beautifully detailed quilts. Now that she has passed on, I realize the significant influence she has had on my life. From a very early age, I felt connected to nature. Many of my holidays were spent on my own, walking in the tree line, collecting rocks and vegetation to contemplate their shapes, colors and textures.

Today as I create my artworks, I am taken back in time to my childhood and through this process I feel compelled to explore ancient techniques that will lead me into learning sustainable methods to develop fibers into hand-made papers, natural dyes and prints.


Mika Aono (Boyd), Eugene, OR

I have been an obsessive collector since I was a child; shiny acorns, smooth pebbles and dragon fly wings... Still today, every time I see a rusty nail on the ground, I put it in my pocket. I dream of what it was before and what it might become and re-membered them. To "remember" is to put back together, to make whole. I'm interested in giving broken, cast-aside things new life. I want to find meaning in the meaningless. This compulsion seems a pointless gesture, yet it is precisely this "odd" behavior that reveals who we are. I explore the humanness of absurdity and futility through laborious processes, finding value in failure.
Seems like slowly but surely, humans and nature are becoming things that exist at opposite ends. When? How? My idiosyncratic actions are a way for me to genuinely pay attention to my surroundings and cope with the sadness I experience.

I have made work that was inspired by fractal structures. I imagined the patterns being one of the keys to solving the mystery of inter-connectedness among all living things.  I cherish serendipity. In ever changing, shifting landscapes, I'm seeking a way to exist with nature in equilibrium.




Christine Holtz, Pitttsburgh

Illegal dumping in Pittsburgh is widespread; however, it is a problem that many locals don’t even know about. The culture of dumping is boundless, affecting almost every neighborhood and socio-economic area in the city. We contacted Allegheny CleanWays, a local non-profit that organizes neighborhood clean-ups and fights illegal dumping, they granted us access to their statistical and GPS data, which was integral to developing this project.
We delved into the data, mapping known coordinates. Over 300 documented dumpsites, many exist on the sides of steep hills and in the woodsy perimeters of residential neighborhoods. More disturbing, many sites are in proximity to greenspaces used for outdoor recreation. This aspect of the data stood out so much, that we chose to document 50 of these specific locations, including public parks, little league fields, cemeteries and playgrounds.
The photographs appear to be landscapes of public spaces, but when coupled with data about the space as a dumpsite, the multiple layers of information present viewers with a new perception of these places. By creating a bridge between the unsuspecting landscape image and the truth about what happens there.


Melissa Robertson, Ontario

A practicing artist and educator of almost 20 years, I have an unyielding passion for art and literature. I've had the privilege of pursuing rewarding careers within cultural centres, art galleries and libraries -- where advocacy for the arts is front and center. 

My work explores our conflicted relationships with the natural world and its resources. Detailed graphite drawings are overlaid with vibrant washes of ink, fine paper cutting and meticulous collage. I am exploring themes of natural land stewardship within the animal kingdom; reciprocity between species and environs; and the consequences of scarcity, abundance and human intervention within these ecosystems. The intention is to present powerful works which evoke a contemplation of our personal connections to our natural surroundings.



Angela Dieffenbach, Chicago

Inspired by anatomy, strange experiments, healthcare trends, and medical innovations,
my work explores biology with an emphasis on medicine. Through study of anatomy’s history in the visual arts and sciences, I’ve become fascinated with the role that artists play in the perception and understanding of the human vessel. As a result of modern medical practices, our bodies are becoming increasingly transparent. This transparency not only adds to the perceived omnipotence of medicine, but to curiosities of bodily exploration.
Much of my research is tied to controversial experiments and an interest in post-natural
beings-- artificially constructed organisms. I’m interested in the ways in which animals and
humans are altered; I’m particularly drawn to chimeras. Additionally, I’m influenced by seemly outdated medical treatments (e.g. parasites) making a comeback in modern healthcare.
Using historic and contemporary symbols and methods, the work blurs past and present.
I reference premodern medical anatomies and juxtapose modern medical imaging. Referencing historical medical procedures and how they relate to modern treatment, the work draws attention to irony, absurdity, and the progress of technology. I use the vulnerability of the body and its contingent relationship to the medical industry and science as an instrument of inspection and reflection.


Ellen Little, San Francisco

My work is inspired and guided by the natural things I find in my backyard and on my morning walks through urban wild spaces. I am fascinated by how the natural world adapts to the human world. By magnifying that which is small and temporary in nature - flowers, moths, dead birds and other ephemera become poignant reminders of the transience of life.

Throughout history flowers have represented fertility and birth while moths have been associated with death and decay. So I combine flowers and moths in my Backyard Series to suggest the interconnectedness and fragility of life where birth, aging and death are intertwined and nothing remains constant.

My Urban Bird paintings are inspired by an article in the New York Times about FLAP and the birds that crash into windows. I paint from real bird carcasses that I find or that friends bring me.

ig   Michelle Stewart, Australia

Based in the Central Victorian Highlands, Australia, and closely surrounded by National Park, Michelle Stewart is deeply engaged in the bushland that inspires her practice. Working with glass since 2008, she is working towards a minimal impact with her practice through experimentation with material. Michelle uses recycled materials and particularly glass to explore the theme of the natural landscape and the premise of human impact within it. Through casting and pâte de verre techniques she explores delicate interrelations between species. Primarily working in the jewellery field she also presents installation, small sculpture and environmental art.


Victoria Smith, MA

I find inspiration for my Kirigami designs from biological and ethnographic patterns and many designs combine the two.  As a scientist, educator and artist, I am grounded in process and interested in creating artwork based on a collective, immersive experience.  How do I tell visual stories that engage others and make them care about a place or life they have never been to or experienced?
In museums, objects and tangible experiences are used to engage and establish emotional connections with visitors to inspire, teach and entertain.  We protect what we care about.   My initial project idea is to create a visual story of life in different ecological niches and the human relationship between them using traditional paper cutting and Kirigami techniques.  I’ll document observations, biota, and patterns while in the field using illustration and photography, then use them to create a collection of paper cuttings.  Through pattern and style, the goal for each piece (or collection) will invoke a reaction that stimulates conversation.  Based on the experience, I realize my project may change, but that is also part of the creative process!


Claire LaFontaine, Milwuakee

My current body of work consists of a series of monoprints, made using collected plant material, that are named after the GPS coordinates of where each plant was found. Plant specimens are collected on walks through natural areas intertwined with the urban landscape of Milwaukee, WI. I put these plant materials through a press, squishing them onto a sheet of Plexiglas which I have inked up with black oil based ink using a brayer. This destructive process transfers the impression of the plant into the ink while simultaneously destroying the plant and releasing its fluids. After removing most of the plant material, the impression in the ink that remains is run through the press again, this time transferring the image to paper. The result is a visual landscape in ink. My intent is to document my experiences of being in nature while also creating work that inspires further investigation and observation of these organic forms. There is an abstraction that occurs due to the process that creates depth in each piece in unsuspecting ways, which for me references the many layers of plant matter that exist in natural areas. This series of prints is about rediscovering one’s place within the ecosystem and recognizing the importance of green spaces in our everyday lives.


Blake Evans, Zurich Ontario

From a young age I’ve always appreciated being on the land, foraging, climbing trees and walking along the shore of Lake Huron, inspired by the myriad of plant life special to each environment. This has influenced my strong desire to explore the natural world physically and spiritually shaping my artwork to be reflective of my concerns for the health of the land and water. Currently I am a Youth Committee member, and Media coordinator for the Neechee Studio collective in Thunder Bay which allows me to connect with a wide range of Indigenous and non-indigenous artists who also acknowledge the realm of flora and fauna.

Colour choice is important for me as I find communication can be exchanged through this universal element.

My current sculptural works using ceramics and crocheted plarn (plastic yarn) highlight species of marine birds as they connect to the colonial history of the exploitation of resources on this continent. I have also used paper molding to create multiples to speak about my concern of the logging industry’s effect on the woodlands.   My drawing tool is mainly chalk pastel, and my work portrays the spirit of corn and the evolving agricultural practices used to cultivate the plant for the human diet. Insect life on my drawings is represented with an element of watercolour painted collaged pieces. I focus a lot of energy on the balance and movement within the compositions of my work, which I borrow from my yoga practices. I am passionate to continue to learn from plants as they benefit human health and embody their teachings in my artwork.


Amanda Besl, Buffalo NY

My most recent work depicts the paradox of preservation and suffocation. Remnants of botanical debris are visible through the translucent ‘skin’ of the plastic that contains them. These culled, severed bodies appear suspended in an ambiguous matrix, possessing a quasi-fetishistic nature while simultaneously suggesting some darker, possibly arbitrary form of curation. This hierarchy of selection – an essential activity in gardening – I liken to America’s current turbulent political climate, in which distinctions become lost in confusion and distortion. Nothing held in stasis can exist indefinitely without evolution or stagnation. The title of the series “I will try not to breathe” references an R.E.M. song. This group’s use of music as a platform for social change was influential while creating this body of work.

My process began with the extraction of my garden’s botanical flotsam and its placement into translucent plastic yard bags. I meticulously photographed these materials as subjects for my oil paintings. The resulting suggested movement straddles both hyperrealism and abstraction. I have also experimented with a highly glossed surface finish, which I intend as both a reference to the filmy substrate holding the actual clippings and as a further seduction. In my earlier painting and drawings, I explored the history of the plants I grew. I referenced the language of flowers and experienced equal amounts of excitement and aggravation while drawing these plants from life, which would move over the course of the drawing process. I interjected myself into these works by wrapping my subjects in the disembodied tangles of my hair from my hairbrush. This element contributes to the simultaneous experience of attraction and repulsion in my work.


Hua Jin,

I am interested in nature, in its constant changing quality, the circle of life and death.
I started to contemplate the idea of change, of the passing time and the evanescent quality
of existence, following the death of my parents.

And as a Chinese-Canadian artist, the influence of oriental aesthetic, religion and
philosophy inherently rooted in my way of thinking and my development as an artist.
My works are inspired by traditional Chinese literati ink paintings. Chinese artist
contemplate the philosophical ideas of existence through the subject of nature, the
landscape of mountains and water. My works aim to emphasize more the spiritual side of
the landscape rather then representing an actual scenery.

Through the lens of Buddhism and Zen philosophy, through the subject of nature, I use
photography, video, installation and drawing to contemplate a worldview that embraces
the concept of transience: of time, of life and of material things. I aim to gain insights into
life, death and of the nature of being through the study of nature, of its rhythm and its



Valérie Chartrand, Winnipeg

I’ve always been fascinated by insects and by what their presence tells us about the world, both from a scientific and a metaphorical perspective. Insects through the ages have been perceived by various cultures as symbols and messengers. Today, the obsvervation of insects as bioindicators also speaks of the state of our ecology.

Primarily a printmaker, many of my prints use dried (found, never killed) insects in soft ground etchings to result in what resembles a fossil. The resulting image preserves the insect and is infused with its symbolism. Process and experimentation are at the core of my practice. I have been exploring encaustics, electroplating and insect prints of many forms including electroetching, cyanotype and photography.

As a first solo exhibition, I created Ghost Hives, a dystopian scenario through which to
contemplate causes and consequences of the disappearance of bees. I worked with bees from collapsed colonies to commemorate their past existence and reflect on their disappearance.

Through exploration, I seek to uncover what the presence and absence of insects today is telling us and how it impacts our environment and our lives.


Laura Williams, Edinburgh

As a self-taught illustrator, the fascination for natural forms, detail and pattern have been at the forefront of my practice. Part of my process involves breaking down the complexities of Mother Nature’s designs - whether it be the structural precision of a pine cone or the gnarled depth found in a washed up piece of wood - then warping them into something both familiar and surreal. Maintaining a versatile and yet close relationship with our natural environment and learning about the makeup of our world is, in my opinion, fundamental to discovering who we are and why we are here.

One of the major influences in my work is studying the careful application and minute details found in botanical, entomological and geological illustrations. Toying with beauty and the unpleasant then injecting each subject with grace, poise and significance in the hope that others will marvel at their splendor like people did when they were first discovered.

My current collection of work, Insectarium, focuses on the fragility of insects native to the UK and the increasing pressures on their ecosystems. My aim is to highlight the diverse and complex lives of our invertebrates and the importance of their roles as well as their strained relationships with the human race. I hope to communicate the connection we share with all living things and our heavy reliance on them for survival. The need to preserve and cherish this chain of life is essential and seeking opportunities, such as this residency, would be an incredible chance for me to help further my research and improve my knowledge in this line of work.





Samantha McCoy, Florida

My work is a grand scale examination of the micro universe of entomology. Florida’s torrid subtropical climate, kitschy tourist traps, and surreal chromatic skies have been a part of my life and influence the stage I set for my menagerie. My lifelong interest in the natural sciences has inspired each pair of mating insects, mollusks, and other animals. After thoughtful research and observation of these creatures, I create fantastic narratives using contemporary colors and strange scale relations. Making the subject larger than life takes us to an unseen part of our own world. By creating works of passionate promenading pests, I reveal the promiscuous activities of these somewhat anthropomorphized creatures.

Initially, pure rebelliousness drove my series. This lead to an introspective moment realizing how these hyper saturated bugs were a reflection on my own life. Growing up with a mildly conservative family and having a strong background in ballet and performing arts, my life was a stage where everything was proper and prim. I kept up the image I was brought up to have; polite and in no way belligerent. The cheeky subject put on display with a dramatic background, reflect this dichotomy within myself.



Rachel Yurkovich, Cleveland

 In our modern world, there is a struggle to monitor appetites and avoid overindulgence. I am in constant observation of thoughtless choices, noticing that we often do not realize the weight of the impact we have on ourselves and our environment. In response to this, I frame instances of uninhibited consumption and the damaging consequences they often bring. This involves the use of insects and animals as stand-ins for human situations of desire, indulgence and self-destruction. Some may be based on pre-existing phenomenon; such as chickens enjoying the taste of their eggs or praying mantises eating each other after mating. I have been recreating these situations in order to witness them myself, to see how and when they actually happen and document them. Going forward I hope to capture happenings in a more documentary way without my interference, as I did in the film Black Grass. I will film living things in their natural environment, from invertebrates to humans, that are expressive of the issues previously mentioned.


Sarah Sheesley, Michigan

I am moved by the composition of spider silk, the circulatory systems of
fish, salamander bio-regeneration and the tongues of giraffe. My writing
explores facts such as these through hybrid forms and lyric essay, with
reflection and associative logic. Each piece grows by exploring fragments
and filaments of the natural world, following these trails into unexpected
territory. My approach to these facts and observations is more playful than
scholarly, structured around associative logic and hypothetical digressions
that work to reconcile the internal world with the external. In disorienting
the reader just enough to skew our perception, flipping our relationship with
nature; a space opens for new clarity and a strange beauty.

Trained as both a painter and a writer, my creative practice engages both
visual and written text, inspired by a desire to truly see what’s in front
of me. Working in the tradition of a reflective essay, I am drawn to this
definition of reflection as “a color being reflected by one thing on another;
a coloration of an object, produced by the particular quality of light cast on
it…an iridescent highlight.” (OED) My goal is to un-hinge the boundary
between animal and human using facts and acrobatic reflection.


Paula Pinero, Spain

I am a musician involved in a creative process focus on the idea of metamorphosis. I have always been fascinated by this feature in some species, particularly in the complex case of the butterfly, which after all its transformative efforts ends as an extremely beautiful creature for a brief time. I find it an inspiring metaphor for me as an artist in a gestation process, preparing myself to discover my true identity as multi instrumentalist composer and producer. At the same time, I am seeking to translate my sound concept and aesthetic into the visual field in order to complement my work.

Quoting Antoni Gaudi “nothing is art if it does not come from nature”. I come from a Macaronesian island where contact with nature elements is everywhere. Currently, I live in the noisy and overwhelming Manhattan, appreciating more than ever to interact with nature. At this point, to take a break to breath, observe and understand the life cycle of insects in their environment are fundamental for my artistic purposes.






Meggan Joy Trobaugh, Seattle

Meggan Joy (Trobaugh) is an emerging exhibiting fine art photographer and digital collage artist, who is currently located in Seattle, Washington. For the last few years, her work has focused on digitally combined flora and fauna, as well as various found objects, in a modern interpretation of a 16th-century painting technique by Giuseppe Arcimboldo. The finished work being a woven web of details, isolated on a black background - forcing the viewer to soak up the shape vs. the familiar elements that created it, or vice versa, depending on how close they look. The work reveals a subject that could never exist in the real world, made of thousands of her own photographs. Sometimes taking up to two years to complete, the finished works have been well received internationally, and Meggan was awarded an Honorable Mention by the International Photography Awards for her winning entry, "Warmth" which was completed in 2016.


Agnes Marton, Luxembourg

In my highly visual, dreamlike poems I make invisible processes (changes of emotions, doubts and fears, inner fights) recognizable, while recreating the language playfully (using non-existent words, distortions, unusual punctuation and layout, mixtures of different languages, juxtaposition). I talk about mysterious beings, snakes proud of their new skin, leopards lying in the middle of the canopy dreaming about their new territories… The word-sparing compositions are full of music, and they leave enough room for the imagination. They are never predictable, they keep surprising you in a thought-provoking way.

I often travel and take part in artist residencies to be able to get to know the tiniest details of different landscapes, flora and fauna, local businesses (tools and methods of craftsmen), the local people’s problems, their way of thinking and speaking. It serves as the starting point to my writing (and then it gives its colours too).

My first collection ’Captain Fly’s Bucket List’ (just like the libretto I wrote based on it) revolves around fulfilling desires and handling regrets; facing life in the light of death. I am interested in each and every aspect of death. I am ready to learn and share my knowledge and ideas.


yjtd   Shinyoung Park, UK

My artistic practice focuses on distilling essence by visualizing invisible parts of life at ambivalent conceptual or psychological borders. I’ve been interested in mortality, religious belief and travel. Recently, I am focusing on the scenes in travel by confronting unfamiliar surroundings with imagination. Although my work is not closely related to wildlife, the experience from Nocturne residency will be a good stimulus for my inspiration to develop the field of artwork. If I am accepted to participate in the residency, I plan to create a series of drawing, painting and prints about wildlife in magical mood.

Basically, my work starts from drawing. For me, drawing is a method to record the cycle of life and death. When a moment of reality is captured in the frame of an image, the moment is dead, falling into eternal standstill. An intriguing point is that the aura of death and aliveness coexist in an image. The state of an image is ambiguous, neither totally dead nor totally alive. So, the act of drawing is the in-between act of life and death and the creation of an image is the process of freezing and reviving a certain moment in the frame of mortality. The thing I do is to treat the dead moments as an undertaker and to gather them as a collector. The life cycle is also applied to the use of materials. I’ve enjoyed various edible materials like coffee, wine, seasoning and so on. It’s inspiring for me that these materials are made by a living thing’s death and the death is revived on the scene.

Deborah Santoro, MA

My prints and multi-media pieces inhabit the space between yearning and falling, between striving to realize a potential, and the habits/patterns/programs that enmesh us in ways of being that do not serve our higher selves.  The LIQUORS sign becomes a stand-in for addictions of all kinds, and the hopelessness that trails them. The asana, or yoga poses, represent an embodied, intuitive knowing that links human potential with universal themes; dendrites and star charts, our mitochondria like tiny suns inside our bodies.  In the time bound dance between despair and enlightenment, time, pattern and color all have their part to play.

Moving forward, my process is entering a research phase as I complete the Asana series and think more deeply about neurons, dendrites, and tree roots.  The connections between things interest me greatly - the linkage between neurons and start charts, what happens as information travels along synapses, how does this relate to the mycorrhizae that bond symbiotically with tree roots in ways that enhance the survival of both organisms?  I’m interested in creating prints and site specific installations that explore these ideas and hint at what they might mean to humanity, inferring the idea that a larger view of the universe might give us perspective on our frail notions species-hood and our anthropocentric world.


Blawnin Clancy, Ireland

To Sleep: Sleep is the portal to the unconscious- the part of the mind that that we are not generally aware of but holds wisps of memories, feelings and ideas. A thought, a snippet of overheard conversation, a fleeting glimpse witnessed during the waking hours can spark a virtual mirage of veracity and tangibility that manifests as a dream.

These photographs are a staging, a dramatic recreation of the murky shadowy concealed inner world of dreams. The recurring dreams of travelling, losing teeth, finding treasures and juxtaposed people and objects are subjects recreated in a representational mode.


Luba Diduch, Alberta

My research is based in collaborative and participatory projects that explore the ways in which forests can be used as creatively productive spaces. My current project titled Sounds of the Biome is composed of field recordings captured in forested environments in Alberta. My purpose in making these recordings is to transform them within audio compositions, and to raise awareness regarding Canadian forests’ beauty and vulnerability. I am interested in enacting creative practices – such as audio recording the natural environments around trees – and linking them to other forested regions in Canada.



Linda Duvall, Saskatoon

I am a Saskatoon-based artist whose work exists at the intersection of collaboration, performance and conversation. My hybrid practice addresses recurring themes of connection to place, grief and loss, and the many meanings of exclusion and absence.

In the summer of 2017 I completed a project in which I spent 65 days in a 6-foot deep hole in rural Saskatchewan with 45 different individuals from various parts of the world. Each person spent 6 hours a day in the hole with me, considering the hole within various frameworks including scientific, geologic, biological, historical, or others. We read out loud, hummed to the walls, talked, observed the birds, shared stories, were silent and often all of the above. Many of these activities involved intense listening – to the subtle sounds of baby bank swallows in their nests, the falling grains of sand, the wind under various conditions. We had only lapel mics that we used in various ways to either isolate sounds or create mini-symphonies of the merging of sand and wind etc.


Terry Billings, Saskatoon

In my audio, video and installation work, I raise questions that challenge us to consider the perspectives of a different kind of body, of different modes of vision, and how variant means of moving though space and time might affect non-human consciousness, experience and perception. This work anticipates a deepening engagement with the biological other from which we are so dangerously estranged.

Gathering imagery, sound and materials during walks in my environment informs my overall approach. I am interested in how a present, subjective experience of a place and its creatures and plants on an intimate scale is influenced by and contradicts the more dominant modern values of consumption and development; how caring for a place and its inhabitants changes its perception and inherent value.

Working more poetically than discursively, I investigate different visual and narrative structures as a way of proposing embodied knowledge, alternate umwelten or sensoria - how beings perceive and interpret their environment - and the inherent possibilities for other-creaturely consciousness within these. Because translation through technology is an important aspect of these proposals, scientific method becomes a part of the poetic of the work, subsumed into a more ambivalent rigor.

i   Scottie Irving of The Peptides, Ottawa

Fundamentally, I am a community builder. Growing up on my great-grandfather’s farm and steeped in the culture of close-knit rural Eastern Ontario, I gained an appreciation for two rudimentary social customs: the chinwag and the get-together. Knowing what constitutes an effective chinwag (chat, discussion, conversation, dialogue, debate) and a successful get-together (blind date, party, concert, meeting, rehearsal) has been central to every endeavour I have ever undertaken, large or small.

My day-to-day mission is simple: to advance, in the chinwag department, from “small talk” to “big talk” as quickly as possible—thereby laying the groundwork for stimulating get-togethers and, over time, a robust culture and community.

I have observed that both music and food represent uniquely potent catalysts for creating a sense of togetherness among people. My work as a keyboard specialist (piano, organ, synthesizer, accordion) provides me an ever-fascinating means by which to accomplish my aim of cultivating togetherness—often without words. The same can be said for sharing in the making and eating of food. My background and lifelong interest in agriculture, which I view as an extension of ecology, reflects this impulse. I am an amateur seed saver, an aspiring local grower, and a passionate breakfast host.


Coco Collins of Construction & Destruction
Nova Scotia

As Construction & Destruction, we strive through our work to plumb personal narratives, celestial noise, sentience, flora and fauna, the animal other, external politics, internal geographies, f-bombs, weather bombs, immediacy and temporality, edicts and edifices, thresholds, tongues, lizard brains, loves, gestures, marginalia, negative and no- space…
We have each made long-running informal studies of animals and the science of sound, and continue to do so from our rural vantage.  We are interested both in the pragmatics and the philosophies inherent to rhythm-based communication and sound.  Sympathetic resonance, as actuality and metaphor, is something we pursue in all of our endeavors.  Including work we’ve done with music and people who have autism, music and survivors of abuse, music and the elderly, and music and teens in schools.

We’re very interested in an opportunity to further our studies of sound and communication and to commune with other like-minded individuals.  We’re intrigued by both new and ancient approaches to sound and the biosphere and are open to learning and watching and gathering information and experiences.  We relish any opportunity to chat gear, eco-phenomenology, feedback, animals, and to work towards the creation of another album.


Cimarron Knight, Vancouver


I am a conceptual artist currently working within the mediums of installation, assemblage and the written word. Within my artistic practice, I have been questioning memory and how it influences narrative: personal and societal. How are these stories influenced by our intellectual reasoning, our body memory and our cultural conditioning? How do these perceived truths inform who we are and what we contribute as individuals and a society?

As a contemporary western female, I have been looking not only at my own cultural and gender mythologies, but beginning to explore other perspectives including nature. What I have been discovering is these collective and individual narratives greatly influence our environments: through our politics, our relationships to ourselves and each other, our planet, and how we present ourselves in a cyber-world. As an artist and writer, I have been asking myself how can messages be sent and received in a complex world of oversaturation?









Dorie Petrochko, Connecticut

What intrigued me to become a bird artist?  Primarily- a passion for birds, and an intense focus on all things avian, including research, birding, travel and conservation. My focus for the past 25 years has been to capture birds in every imaginable pose and habitat using field sketching and photography in the initial stages of preparation, then proceeding to develop my compositions in mixed media (watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil) to complete my paintings. More recently, I have been using experimental backgrounds for my subjects to create more tension between the subject and its environs.

I prefer using mixed water media for quick applications of intense pigment, which serve as backgrounds for my bird renderings. The whole process is very labor intensive, juggling foreground and background, letting the dynamics of color, and the bird’s position, dictate the direction of the painting. I pay specific attention to bird anatomy and the character of birds in my work.

Bird paintings are ever evolving. The added challenge is that there is something intrinsically spiritual and secretive about birds, that is often untouchable. That is what keeps me going.


Gesyk Isaac, Fredericton

I am 28-year-old Mi'gmaq woman residing in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Last year I received a certificate from the Aboriginal Visual Arts (AVA) program from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. My practice centers around my culture and the use of natural materials. I work primarily with black ash, tanning animal skins, beading and some quill work. My interest lies in combining what we see as “Traditional” Indigenous art and fusing it with unexpected mediums such as clay and metal. The idea of place is very influential to my work. I am constantly drawing inspiration from my surroundings and an opportunity like this would benefit me greatly.

Ornithology, botany, and ecology are topics that I am constantly educating myself about. I have studied traditional plant medicine in the past. Having the opportunity to see so many bird species return home is very exciting!

uyf   Kate Gorman, Ohio

I am a narrative textile artist interested in line, both physical and metaphorical. Physically I enjoy the act of mark-making, the movement, texture and complexity of drawing with dyes and pens, needle and thread.  As a storyteller, I make linear connections, past to present, with storyline, timeline, paths of migration, map lines, family lineage, etc. History and memory are ephemeral and open to interpretation, but integral to who we are, where we are and how we have become in this place at this time. 

            Birds are an important element of my work. Physically they represent motion and freedom. Metaphorically they represent movement to the unknown, whether simple migration, or on a higher, spiritual plane. They are also gloriously wonderful creatures to draw, both at rest and in motion. I love the way a bird's shape texture and movement are so suited to their metaphorical interpretations. Parakeets, pigeons, blackbirds and crows are featured in my art quilts of the past decade.

            I work in textiles both to honor traditional women’s work and because of the tactile experience of handling cloth. It is slow work, and meditative, both anecdote and antidote to my otherwise fast-paced life. 


Karolina Latvyte, Lithuania

I am an artist who likes to explore. I am a traveller. Not only by bus, plane or feet but by my mind itself. I gain the inspiration from nature and wilderness.
If I am not travelling outside the homeland, I am exploring places with my memories, my studio is a temple and the creative process is a mediation which helps me to stay in the present moment. Through the images of landscapes and the wildlife, I am answering the questions which trigger me about the life and human being. The concept I choose to work on, it always comes from my philosophical point of view, I speak about death, time as an illusion and vanishing memories on my canvases. I seek that my artworks, which are full emptiness and loneliness, would help me to get the better connection with a viewer and would speak my words. Lonely objects, empty landscapes and the unfinished canvas guide me all my artistic life. My main technique to create is painting, but I find myself that working with other media as photography and video, helps me to reveal my ideas.
My artistic goal is to inspire people to see the beauty of the world through my aesthetic experience and help them to get the better connection with nature.


Tanya Chaly, NYC

In my work I have been pursuing a number of projects with Natural History
Museums/ Research Institutions as well as Scientists working in the field over the
last five years. My most recent work involved a project looking at ecosystem
regeneration and resilience in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique.
I am interested in connecting with scientists and incorporating elements of research
and data into my drawings as I see the two disciplines of art and science as
connected and not separate unrelated fields. They are both ways in which to
understand and analyze the world but through different lenses.
I see drawing as an immediate way in which to recapture a crystalized form of a
vision of nature not always recognized, presenting to the viewer a clinical, or
forensic representation of biodiversity.



Kate Houlne, Indiana

Invisible Threads

Avian life has stood the test of time. A set of creatures evolved from the time of the dinosaurs. Yet, birds are in a cataclysmic decline around the world. Deforestation, chemical use, a changing climate and human made structures all take a toll on the bird population. These winged creatures do so much for the environment, from insect control, replanting of forests and pollination of plant life to providing recreation and spiritual guidance. They are not a menace to humans, yet how we live definitely is a menace to them. 

The separation of man from nature began long ago and the split continues today. This work aims to visualize the invisible threads that connect how humans affect the land and consequently the birds, whose loss, as an indicator species, is not only a loss of bird song, but the loss of human life as well.









Christina La Sala, San Francisco

I am a scavenger, a collector, a researcher and a fabricator. My work is site based, performative and driven by a love of process, history and craft. I read the world as pattern and experience it as time code, reading and misreading pattern and symbol as sensory narratives and fragmented symbols.
My projects explore a relationship to time through material choice, process and kinetics:
ephemeral materials like water and wax, processes like spinning and embroidery, kinetics that employ rocking, melting and spinning, are sensory based, sequenced investigations of temporal patterns that lie hidden in our daily activities.
I have been observing the flight patterns of birds and insects as part of my ongoing investigation of pattern in natural and human systems. I am especially interested in moths; diagramming their movements through drawing, photography and journalling. The Nocturne Residency would significantly contribute to my understanding of the behavior of moths and lay the foundation for a project that interprets the temporal and physical movements of moths in flight. The art work will develop over several years as a series of textiles and sculptures.


Kay Hartung, USA

My work is related to my fascination with the microscopic world. I have been looking at electron microscope photographs and am inspired by the abstract organic shapes and intense color of this hidden world. I imagine the energy and interactions that go on in the body and the mind to produce action and thought. I am exploring the connections between science and art ; conscious of the profound effects that these minute biological forms have on the universe.
The imagery, loosely based on observation of biological structures, explores the interconnections of these cellular forms. The process builds layer upon layer suggesting growth, development and movement. Some of the pieces are in more of a static or restful stage whereas others explode with activity. The order and chaos of these biological processes are captured in my imagery.

  Amica Dickson, UK

Using my own reality as a starting point I make work that aims to act as a vehicle for reverie, provoking questions on issues born through my experiences but not singularly specific to me. Primarily I am concerned with illness, it's physicality and it's emotional impact. I aim to confront ones innate response to certain subject matter, using visuals so expected connotations are subverted. Play between the objective and the personal is prevalent. Presenting the first contradiction in a line of many that are central to my practice.
The morbid and the poetic. Beauty and abjectness. Attraction and repulsion. 
Exploring imagery we cannot usually see, revealing what to the human eye is ugly/abject but under the microscope is beautiful. Making the internal, external. In doing so bringing something that is usually out of sight, into view. Balancing which personal elements to reveal and which to conceal so my work can remain both ambiguous and specific, scientific and dactylic.

Tosca   Tosca Terán, Toronto

My work explores Terrestrial manifestations through combining tactile, sculptural forms, and audio; creating immersive environments, unNatural History Dioramas, and performative, wearable structures questioning Human origin and mythos.

My ‘jewelry’ serves as maquettes and experiments towards my sculptural work. The majority of my work draws from my fascination with the artistic representation of natural history, the creation of fictitious places in literature and my interest in Cordyceps fungus – in particular; Cordyceps unilateralis, a species of entomopathogenic fungus that infects and alters the behaviour of ants in order to ensure the widespread distribution of its spores.
The body of work, An unNatural History created for Urban Glass Brooklyn and featured during SOFA, NY 2009 is an example of this passion to bring the microcosmos to the macro through metal, glass, mixed/multi-media, often 'wearable' maquettes.

If we can say that the world of science is synonymous with truth and the world of art with that of fiction, I want to tread a middle ground that is unusual and seemingly beyond belief, yet also familiar.





Expedition leader
Alyssa Ellis,
The Laboratory of Toxic Materials

Ellis is an Albertan born artist who has an ongoing love affair with botanical poison. She studies, documents and seeks out poisonous plants that can be found growing naturally within the province of Alberta. Through the process of her work, she studies the relationships between plants and people, and the dependence one has on the other.

Alyssa’s practice is multidisciplinary and fluctuates between textiles, drawing and installation. While always connecting back to the idea of natural poison, she strives to do nothing more than to delve into nature’s killer side. 



Michelle Bunton, Canada

Rooted in a space of paradox, my practice attempts to question the mnemonic capacity of technology as an archival medium, dismantling the notion of the video or sound record as an absolute or concrete preservation of the body/psyche. Creating multi-media, sculptural installations, my work aims to mirror a high-intensity atmosphere in which technological, human, and material bodies compete and grate against one another in a perseverance towards preservation. My practice is further influenced by a critical interest in neutrality, passivity and Quantum Theory’s concept of “potentia,” which is defined as an intermediary layer of reality that exists halfway between the physical reality of matter and the intellectual reality of the image. I consider technology-based archives to occupy this intermediate reality, offering a critical venue through which to examine larger themes, such as gender, sexuality, death and decay.


Rachel Fein-Smolinski, Syracuse NY

There is this extraterrestrial thing that occurs between a visual experience and its cognitive translation. The experience of looking has a visceral relationship with the psyche. The sight of a worm dying in the sun can contain a sort of joyful aesthetic satisfaction, along with the everyday mundanity of such an occurrence, all the way down the spectrum to the very tragedy of the mortality of living beings.
The images that I have shown are from a group I’m working on called The Sex Lives of Animals Without Backbones. This project integrates disparate imagery, from highly stylized documents, photographs, videos of dissections, and sourced diagrams from scientific educational materials. The work deals with the relationship that sight and imagination has with knowing, specifically in aspects of science that are heavily associated with an objective and visually clinical idea of knowledge. I am complicating that with a more poetic conception of scientific phenomena.
With a history of attempts to grasp a conception of Being that encompasses the vast network of biological life and death, from Aristotle’s attempts to address the different kinds of souls possessed by living things in De Anima (On the Soul) in 350 BCE, to Heidegger’s conception of Dasein or fundamental presence in his major 20th century treatise Being and Time, there is still an abundance of wonder within the knowns and unknowns of the network of interactions in the world that my work addresses.

jordan   Jordan Hall, Vancouver

As a playwright, I'm invested in eco-theatre—in understanding our relationship with our environment and the ways in which it resonates with the unspoken truths of human existence. I've written on climate change and apocalyptic ideation, and I am currently exploring biodiversity/the Holocene extinction. As I've been grappling with what it means for a species to be implicated in a mass extinction, I've spent a lot of time thinking about how to represent the complicated web of relationships that tie us to the natural world, what it means to attempt to dramatize the inhuman, and how the idea of extinction confronts us both with our mortality, and with questions of our viability as a species. I'm excited about the opportunity Biophilia presents in terms of discussing these issues with like-minded artists, and to think about how strategies from other artistic traditions might be useful in trying to illuminate our relationship with the natural world on the stage.


Melissa Smith, NC

I love nature. I make art because I love nature. I became interested in scientific illustration because I knew that pursuing a future in that field would mean that I would always have a reason to be close to nature. Spending time noticing details about things in the natural world just changes a person – it is a very intimate thing. 

Knowledge about the natural world is what inspires my work. Learning something new literally every day is what keeps me going. Science is always changing. Nature is always changing. There is no room to get bored and inspiration is very literally everywhere.

The art I create is, of course, somewhat technical, but I feel my own interpretation of nature is evident in each piece.


Rhonda Vanover, NY

Just as a photogram captures the shadow of an object once present and now removed, my photographic images attempt to grasp at the mortal tensions between contact and loss, apparition and aberration, object and specter. My photographic and darkroom processes slow time to lay bare single moments for unsentimental scrutiny, tracing the iridescent shimmer of an abandoned nest or the gristle of an old bone.

The foundation of my art practice is a biographical documentary about death and dying. To seek and photograph the essence of what is left behind, oscillating between the real and the memorial.



Brooke Sauer, L.A.

Regardless of what medium I employ, my work has a whimsical tone that explores my love of nature and adventure. In the past year I have been creating a large collection of hand cut collages entitled, In Search of Treasure. In this ongoing series I explore the human relationship to landscape using mineral specimens as terrain to be contemplated, explored, enjoyed, and to inspire feelings of awe. I have often fantasized about shrinking down and adventuring over the surfaces of a really great rock I have found, and I wanted to express this fantasy through these surrealist moments that encourage the viewer to derive their own narrative, and place themselves in the tiny landscape that they see before them. 




Betty Kirschenman, Alberta

I am the granddaughter of homesteaders on the prairies, living in the community they worked to establish over a century ago and appreciation of this land is an integral part of my art. Golds and earth tones, the colours of the prairies, are often overwhelmed by the blue drama of the enormous sky.  Transparency of watercolour is especially well suited for capturing the clarity of light, whether on land, sky or water.

Southeastern Alberta is in the Palliser Triangle, the driest part of Canadian prairies, originally labeled “uninhabitable” due to the arid conditions. With the exception of the South Saskatchewan River, the only water in our area consists of spring runoff, dugouts, wells and mostly alkali sloughs.  In the midst of fields and sandhills, the unexpected ruggedness of river breaks and coulees comes as a complete surprise. For some reason, “the river”, is almost always lurking in my art.  When I travel, I want to be near, on and in water, as well as paint it.   Why does water have such an allure for a prairie girl?  Absence?  Unpredictability?  Unfamiliarity?   Potential?  Reflections?  Power?  Colour?  Danger?  I would love to explore those questions! 


Edwina Cooper, Australia

As a sailor, a boat is the mediator for my oceanic experience. My practice is sustained by an interest in the relationship and interactions of human and oceanic space. The motivator of this investigation remains my sailing practice, as a method for experiencing the ocean. The threshold of air and water presents itself to us as oceanic surface, and it is my intention to consider how we engage with and quantify this otherwise foreign space. 
The focus of my practice has encapsulated our sustained attempts at fathoming oceanic space through measure and control, contributing to my understanding of oceanic phenomena. Through my practice as a sailor, I have identified the boat to be the mediator of my oceanic experience. The act of sailing, as well as its materiality, informs an intimate and embodied understanding of oceanic space. The work produced through this process is ‘rigged’, as a human response of control through relevant systems (such as forecasting and mapping), as comparable generalised quantitative documents of the uncontrollable.

My practice has been informed by this very physical and unique experience of the ocean; I attempt to extend, control and test this relationship through a lineage of kinetic sculptural/ installation works.
iyg   Pam Cardwell, NYC

I begin my work by drawing the shapes and markings from objects directly in nature.   I then take initial drawings back into studio, working from memory, imagination, photos and notes I have taken onsite until the drawings feel right.  Growing up in West Virginia, USA I spent time as a child fascinated by mountains, streams, creeks and rivers.  Canoeing, kayaking and white water rafting, the culture of landscape is a part of my being.  As an adult I get my water “fix” by swimming.  Recently I have been attempting to open water in the ocean at Brighton Beach.  The movement, color, light and fluidity, ephemerality of water fascinate me.  Capturing color, and movement through paint and light is my job as a painter.  Understanding nature and living outdoors affects my working process and helps me channel something outside of myself.  The body of work contained in the attached images were inspired by my time at an artist residency in New Orleans.  While at this residency I took kayaking trips to learn about the waterways of New Orleans and drew from the vast array of tropical plant life.  A past research project on color was done through a Fulbright Scholar grant in the Republic of Georgia.  I used rocks and plants from the landscape in the Republic of Georgia to make pigment.   Meeting other artists, scientists, writers and poets at artist residencies is also crucial to my development as an artist as it feeds and expands my working process.

Botany for artists
July 2017

Laura Lewis, Austin TX

My illustration work aims to capture a glimpse into other worlds primarily using plants and color to guide a piece’s specific mood. I believe plants can be directly correlated with emotion and I explore that in each of my works. Research and scientific accuracy are the foundations with which I like to build environments from, mostly from observing the nature we have here on this Earth. I find it endlessly fascinating, and I am reaching a chapter of my life where I aim to learn as much as I can about botany so I can better understand the subjects I draw and the worlds I am creating. One of the most vital underlying messages in all my work remain rooted in environmental preservation.


Sonja Hébert, Vancouver

The cycle of life, death and rebirth as impermanence plays a primary role in my work both thematically as well as in my approach to my practice of drawing and installation. It has led to my questioning the conundrums related to how and why I make things in a consumer society. 
I am convinced that a healthier relationship to the plant communities will lead to a better relationship with each other and all life.  This philosophy has become pivotal in my life as I build a language in my art practice centered on human connection to land and more specifically to plants. It has become an undercurrent on which I build my themes.
For several years, I have been striving to build a deeper relationship to the plants in my immediate surroundings through wild foraging and through my installation works using roots and grasses. Plants have provided humans with food, medicine, shelter, and building materials for boats, wagons and chariots. Through my research, I’ve come to understand plants as the basis of civilizations through massive agriculture of cereal crops like rye, wheat and corn.  
Gathering this understanding through science is a main springboard of inspiration for both my drawings as well as my installations. I strive to render poetically what I learn through science. I see art as having the capacity to safeguard against the over fragmentation of knowledge often experienced through the scientific lens by highlighting the interdependence of all life. 

Cynthia Farnell
, Georgia

I am a visual artist working in lens-based media, primarily photography. The central themes of my work are place and cultural identity in contemporary life. Engagement with place through my studio work allows me to forge meaningful connections to my community.

Narrative, transience and transformation are inherent in the medium and processes of photography and over time they have manifested in my work as recurring themes. My formal strategies can change from project to project. Sometimes I employ documentary methodologies and use representational techniques. In other instances I use ambiguous, altered and layered imagery to evoke metaphysical realms.

The recent body of work that I have attached as part of the application for the Biophilia : Germinate residency is Garlands, a suite of large-scale prints and an HD video piece. These baroque elaborations connect with deeper and enduring aspects of human experience through beauty and continuity. In this series of pigment inkjet prints on Belgian linen, blooming plants are metaphors for cycles of death and regeneration as well as poignant remnants of human presence. Many of the flowers I use as source material are bulb-forming lilies acquired as pass-along plants. Their cultivation provides me with a sense of place and connection with the past.


Amber Bond, Toronto

Many of my visual artworks concentrate on the human body. They examine its physical and figurative processes. Illustrating the body as having been anatomized enables me to dissect how it is that these parts are treated allegorically. For instance, although the human heart is simply an organ intended to circulate blood through the body, it is often romanticized as a vessel for everything kept secret or held dear. I attempt to examine this metaphor with clear-cut visuals of electric hearts and tactile representations of open heart surgery, using hand-sewn felt, wire and plastic. 

Recently, my artistic processes have involved a rediscovery of my roots as a Métis individual. This has consisted of many endeavours: learning and making use of traditional crafts, such as beadwork; creating acrylic paintings to communicate aspects of my personal journey; and the formation of my sustainable business, Treecycle Toronto, which operates on an indigenous philosophy of conservation, turning previously-loved Christmas trees and fallen branches into housewares, artwork, jewelry, and cosmetics. As such, the prospect of engaging further with nature as a means to enhance my artistic practice intrigues me greatly.


Guylaine Couture, Montreal

The artist juggles subjects that question us: cancer, ecology, mourning and landscape. These themes ask for introspection. She delicately drafts the message, analyzes the meaning of words and images as well as developing the final form of the book with accuracy. The process requires time, reflection and several models in order for the desired result to be achieved.

Using old books, collage, drawing and manual printing, she tries to give a new direction,  a second life to all kinds of material. Each book attempts to create a fusion between the contents and the container while questioning the manipulation of the object by the reader.
To create a book allows for an exchange with the reader both by the text and by the manipulation of it. Slowly browsing one of her artists’ books is an experience, a conversation,  a relationship with her and her concerns.


Tracie Mae Stewart, BC

My work as an Arborist, project designer, IPM, and food grower informs my art making practice. Questions arise daily over food security, pollinator collapse, climate/ Ocean change and the connectivity of all, fueling my efforts to raise social awareness. My role of guardian, caretaker and educator, as well as artist; experiencing the fullness of being immersed in the environment leads me to create multi sensory socially engaged installations. These diverse art practices enable me to engage various publics and communities educate and invite engagement. These questions fuel my art practice. Answers arise through art.





Mellissa Fisher, UK

Mellissa Fisher’s practice combines art with microbiology; her interests lie in the interrelationships between illustration, sculpture and living organisms. Mellissa’s research is heavily based on the connections with nature and the self, posing questions to an audience regarding their relationship with their bodies as well as their link to nature.

Mellissa’s practice has developed through creating bacterial sculptures of her own body, into an exploration of mycology by growing mushrooms on sculptures of the human form, to represent the idea that our bodies are an ecosystem, using the body as a landscape for growing and hosting different organisms.

rotutnick   Robyn Crouch, Montreal

The imagery and symbols that come through Robyn's work encourage one's gaze inward to the cellular realms. There, one discovers playful depictions of chemical processes; they are the basis for the macrocosm, and our human consciousness becomes an interface between the seen and the unseen worlds.

In her functional ceramic work, the influence of Chinese and Japanese tea ceremony encourages moments of contemplation. The viewer-participant can loose her or his train of thought while meandering through considerately composed collages of geometries, molecules, plants, and creatures, all woven together by strands of double-helical DNA. A flash of recognition. A momentary mirror.

A goal in this work is balance and harmony between the form, and the micro-mythologies encircling it. Moments of personal ritual in daily life beget even deeper, more conscious presence. Little by little over time we gain insight into what makes us tick.
Robyn’s goal is to provide a platform (however small), on which to rest, and off of which to launch forays into the luscious and potent realms of imagination, self-inquiry, and discovery during moments of solitude and engaged contemplation. So let us celebrate alone and together!


Siobhan Madden, Ontario

I have come to realize that my role in this world is not a passive one. I use my artistic practice as a tool to provoke thought and emotional response, through the act of making. The nature of my practice is interdisciplinary, focusing on sculpture and instillation. I am not limited to one specific medium to address a specific material response. I use the rawness of material form, in this instance algae, to capture the viewer aesthetically through its color and physical form to layer the petri like dishes. Through this labour-intensive process, I build upon my relationship with the natural world. In my opinion, the act of making is the most powerful tool I have as an artist. I feel that for my own work to be valid, it needs to have a purpose and it needs to give a voice to the natural world, which affects us all. My practice is driven by my personal relationships and studies in environmental science. This is my foundation when understanding the natural world and what my role is an artist.



Tracy Maurice, Brooklyn

Tracy Maurice is an artist, photographer and filmmaker based in NY. Her practice is a research based, project to project approach that combines analog techniques, often inspired by science, nature, and early cinema special effects. She is interested in exploring symbolism via techniques that use ”artificial darkness" (a term coined by Noam M. Alcott ), often using a black ground or dark field microscopy to create iconic images that aim to redefine 'darkness' as something transcendent and connected to nature. 

She recently debuted an audiovisual project titled,’ Preservation’, at Lincoln Center Atrium in NY. Her experimental film investigated themes of change, transformation, and reoccurring patterns found in nature through a series of impressionistic vignettes using dance and microscopy and set to a score composed by Thomas Alton Crane, and performed live with Eliot Krimsky and Colin Killalea. She worked as the Creative Director for the band Arcade Fire from 2004 - 2008, creating artwork, music videos and live content for the albums ‘Funeral’ and ‘Neon Bible’. Her background in music has led her to continue to collaborate with musicians, including Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld, among others. Tracy's work has been featured in festivals and publications including, The Worldwide Short Film Festival, Creativity, Shots, Stash Magazine, Billboard and Print Magazine. She won a Juno Award in 2008 for Best Director of the Year for the artwork and design of the full-length album, Neon Bible by Arcade Fire. 


Rosemary Lee, Copenhagen

My artistic practice is based on investigation of interactions between technologies and systems in the natural world. Each of my installations manifests complex webs of influence linking machines, living things and the environments which they inhabit. Working from research into themes such as media geology, hybrid ecology and posthumanism, my artwork brings together equally hybrid influences from philosophy of media, science, conceptual art and literature. I make an effort to use my artwork as a platform for understanding and responsibility toward the ecological effects of human intervention and technological development.


Insects and entomology for artists
June 2017





iyt   Expedition Leader:
Shannon Amidon
, San Jose, CA

My artwork explores the cycles of life, calling attention to its transitory and fragile nature. I’m enthralled and intrigued by the natural sciences, and I feel that especially in this technology-driven age we need reminders of the briefness of life and wonders of the natural world.

Drawn to the alchemical nature of the process, I use the ancient medium of encaustic (molten beeswax) and often incorporate organic, upcycled and cast off materials to create my mixed media pieces. I love using materials that have a nostalgic, pensive, or mysterious feeling. I have a strong emotional connection to well-worn objects that have been through many hands. Sometimes I feel the essence of their history reflected in my art. My subject matter includes a variety of natural history elements including insects, botanicals, seed pods, and birds as well as ancient symbolism and geometry.

By interlacing science, art and nostalgia I strive to create pensive and familiar images that transport the viewer to another time and place, evocative of a moment filled with exploration, wonder and discovery.

Michael Pisano, Pittsburgh

Michael Pisano is an animator, illustrator, and filmmaker. His first career aspiration was to be a dinosaur. Later acquisition of bifocals in suburban New Jersey led to an amateur interest in small things: ants, pondscum particles, fine print, and the Earth as featured in illustrations of the solar system.

Michael uses storytelling, from documentary to illustration series to transmedia hybrids, to educate about nature and the importance of stewardship in the Anthropocene. His nonfiction work highlights the intricacy and intertwined beauty of all living things, and the researchers and activists working to understand and protect them. His fiction work uses the treatment of nature in myth and fantasy as a point of entry into environmental justice conversations.

Since reading E.O. Wilson’s ​Naturalist at age 11, ants remain his favorite animal. He admires the qualities they represent: collaboration, selflessness, curiosity. Ants also remind Michael of relative scale, that humans are cells on a gently revolving giant. The giant clambers a circle around an infinite cosmos. That cosmos repeats infinitely. Simultaneously, we are each a subatomic cosmos, infinite electrons arrayed into monkey shapes wearing infinite plant fiber atoms using a variety of small boxes inside of bigger boxes, all experienced inside a fractalized matroyshka series of perceived cultural boxes. Thanks, ants.


Cynthia O’Brien, Ontario

I have two bodies of work at the moment, that are opposite yet connected.  
One body is based on the collection of plants, from down under, a “physical memory” of flowers, seed pods and leaves found in the Flecker Botanical Gardens in Cairns, Australia. I spent a month long residency at the Tanks Arts Centre (2012), with the concept of being guided by nature to see a plant from all angles, light and moods. My hands became competent in perfecting the plants, to emphasis both their strength and delicacy. With my return to Canada I have been able to recreate these flowers based on my physical (touch) memory. 

It has been this practise that lead to my interest in the physical and chemical connections of memories contained within the body and brain.  My darker, heavier body of work discusses the actual physical make up of the brain, folding back and forth onto itself to create the fast connections needed for memory.  Yet these pieces talk of emptiness, darkness and loss.
I am searching for a way to bring these bodies together to witness, create and remember beauty in as many ways as possible. 


Liam Blackwell, Montreal

My work focuses primarily on assisting the individual to transcend their body's sensory limitations. When an object is viewed from a radically close distance, an aerial perspective, or taken in through media which alters the passage of time, our senses are greatly extended – beyond those of human beings preceding our time. In effect by perceiving though such media, we have become god-like observers.
For me, the greatest wonders of photography are the ability to extend the animalian lens to the endless frontiers of inner and outer space, as well as the ability to freeze or accelerate the perception of time. My goal is to adhere to those principles the best I can while capturing the mysterious and fleeting phenomena of our natural world, which provide an infinite subject matter beyond our imagination.


Bethanne Frazer, Philadelphia

I favor the grotesque. I see it as an absolute value, not an opposite of beauty, or something in the way of the pursuit of beauty. The epitome of grotesque is a beautiful achievement. Beauty is a facet of what is grotesque, just as something we perceive as beautiful has grotesque qualities innately. The innate "ick" factor most people have to insects is quite fascinating. I choose to exploit it when possible in my imagery.  I am very interested in the natural world, specifically insects. Much of my artwork features insect imagery. Their otherworldliness fascinates me. I also find most of them aesthetically pleasing, I attempt to get past my inner “ick” factor. I have handled and gotten near to insects in the effort to further my appreciation of them. I stop to take photos and videos of insects. I research insects when I come across one I do not recognize. I appreciate the symbols insects possess in many cultures. Overall, I feel insects represent a lot of what we understand of our world in a microcosmic way. Insects have societal structure and architecture. They are numerous. All the things that influence their world influences ours. I seek meaning when I observe them. 


Expedition Leader:
Estraven Lupino-Smith
, Montreal

I am an interdisciplinary artist whose work investigates the historical and social forces that shape our interactions with the natural world. I am specifically interested in ideas of home and belonging, urban wildlife and spaces of wildness, human and animal migrations, and relationships between place, space, and identity. I am consistently inspired by the transformative nature of artistic expression, the power of collective action, and the wonder of things found outside.

I work primarily as a printmaker to produce multiples and a sound artist who uses the guitar and baritone guitar. In my sound work I draw on samples from the Macauley Library, the largest online database of wildlife recordings. My practice also involves collaboration, both to produce visual and sound pieces, and is informed by interactions with varied environments: natural, cultural, and constructed. I am also a researcher and a writer. As a human geographer, I investigate spatial relationships, specifically the dynamics of natural and cultural spaces, and the human interventions in the imagined geographies of these places.

My most recent body of work depicts nocturnal and crepuscular species. The prints explore the connections between humans and non-human animals through our interactions in shared environments. Many of the animals featured as a part of this series have been vilified, and are still considered pests or dangerous. I wanted to celebrate these survivors, who live among us in cities and other complicated landscapes.

(a villanelle)

Its tail incessantly flails
as it paces up and down the Corniche
while a strong shamal prevails.

Not at all deterred, it rails
against the wind on the beach.
Its tail incessantly flails.

With such finesse, it scales
the seawall without the slightest screech
while a strong shamal prevails.

Such an inspiration as it sails
along – it doesn’t beseech or preach.
Its tail incessantly flails.

Under such conditions, it still nails
the insect – it could teach how to overreach
while a strong shamal prevails.

In winter, its pied plumage pales
as it migrates – feathers blanched as if bleached.
Its tail incessantly flails
while a strong shamal prevails.



Diana Woodcock, Virginia

        I began taking myself seriously as a poet when I first lived abroad – in the former Portuguese colony of Macau.  In 2010, I won the Vernice Quebodeaux International Poetry Prize for Women, and my first poetry book, Swaying on the Elephant’s Shoulders, was published.  It marked me as a poet of witness.  By then, I had worked for nearly eight years in Tibet, Macau and on the Thai/Cambodian border. 

       Environmental issues and poetry’s role in educating people about these issues have interested me for a very long time. Many of my published poems may be labeled ecopoetry.  My second full-length collection, Under the Spell of a Persian Nightingale (2015) promotes caretaking of not only a tiny oil-rich sheikdom at the edge of the Arabian Desert, but of the whole earth.  My sixth chapbook, Beggar in the Everglades (2016), was inspired by a one-month residency (AIRIE/National Park Service) in the Everglades National Park.  My third chapbook, In the Shade of the Sidra Tree (2010) features poems inspired by the people and land of the Arabian Peninsula. My fifth, Desert Ecology: Lessons and Visions (2014), focuses on the flora of the Arabian Desert.   British poet Helen Farish, in her endorsement of my fourth chapbook, Tamed by the Desert, wrote that my poetry is “reminiscent of Amy Clampitt in its scholarly attention to detail and its rigorous insistence on linguistic precision.”

gabbee stolp

Gabbee Stolp, Australia

Gabbee Stolp is an Australian visual artist whose work involves a philosophical exploration of spirituality, mythology and human connectedness with the natural world, together with a belief in the inseparability of life and death.  Using materials thoughtfully sourced from the lives of animals, Gabbee works with small object and jewellery making in order to provoke ideas of the biological and the metaphysical and to inspire a connection with nature through art. 

Currently living in Melbourne, Gabbee has recently completed a Bachelor of Arts
(Fine Arts) First Class Honours at RMIT University. For her major studio work in Object Based Practice, Gabbee created figurative objects to illustrate ideas of human separation from nature in the midst of the Anthropocene and presented these objects as a memorial to extinct species and as an offering of atonement for anthropocentric sins. 


Joanne Madeley, Edmonton


In the Fall of 2015, a black bear was found in the river valley near my house.  Running through the heart of the city at 48km in length, the North Saskatchewan River Valley Park is the largest uninterrupted parkland in an urban area in Canada.  Like an apparition, the bear was only seen briefly and then it disappeared from whence it came and the incident has haunted me ever since.  

My recent artwork explores nature’s place in an urban environment.  The bear sighting makes me question what will happen to the richness of the wildlife in the city as it develops and expands.  Edmonton is a rapidly growing city and I question if the local flora and fauna will be reduced to a decorative motif or will it be an integrated part of the city’s overall design.


Peter Palfi

My practice is provocative dealing with issues that require certain self-assurance. In crafted installations I build humorous and unnerving narratives with taxidermy animals or other sourced objects. I construct the installations with an attention to detail while my dry, sarcastic sense of humor is the driving element of my practice. In early sculptural painting works I have demonstrated competent making skills and the ability to think through and build complex physical structures and my interest towards animals has led me to the point where I am now.

My practice is mainly dealing with the idea of using an animal as a form of material while creating a humorous, well-crafted surrounding to modernize taxidermy in contemporary art. I am interested in, how an initial idea can change meaning, once it becomes a physical form.
My practice requires intuitive sourcing skills, where I select taxidermy animals or other, intriguing objects relating to an idea, mainly from online websites. This is a big part of the future outcome, as this selection process determines everything about the piece, including size, theme and narrative. Other occasions, when I have a concept to start with, I taxidermy the selected animal myself, so I can dictate the aesthetics of the piece in every way.

I came to focus with my current practice while I was on an Erasmus placement in Switzerland in my second year of my University studies. Before hand, my long died out passion, was painting with oils on canvas, with portrait based subject. Once I got the courage to let go of the paintbrush, I started to explore and use elements, such as humor and nature in my work.

I also started to use live animals in some of my installations, because my researched has developed to study how people perceive the art piece and what are their emotions towards it when they see a living creature feature in the work.


Adelle Pound, Northern Ireland

I am a wildlife artist and keen birdwatcher. I work in a number of mediums such as acrylic, watercolour, drawing, collage and cut paper. Fieldwork and drawing from life is central to my practice. This is both a creative endeavour in itself and a way of generating resource material. Studying birds in their natural habitat is a crucial process which drives the ideas that inform the development of new work.

In Northern Ireland where we are visited by migratory birds from across the globe. This seasonal coming and going has be part of life and culture here for as long as there have been people to witness it. I am just the latest in a long line of “watchers”. The birds likewise are the latest in generations that go back into the far distant past.

In May 2016 I  took part, with 11 other artists, in the Copeland Art Project. This took the form of a weekend residency at the Copeland Bird Observatory, followed by a series of developing and evolving exhibitions throughout the summer. This resulted in a short graphic story called “to be Continued”. I am currently researching material for more extended narrative pieces.

chelsea allard

Chelsea Allard, Calgary

Humour, honesty and nature are the most important aspects of my practice. Through my use of relatable animals composed in an illustrative style I hope to engage my audience in a way that makes them feel emotionally connected to my characters. Using themes that are inspired by my own struggles with mental health, I translate them through my use of animals and text to create a scenario for viewers that they can empathize with.

Animals are vital to my work because they create accessible characters that prompt empathy more so than with human characters. Animals with human problems seem a lot sadder to us than ​ humans with human problems and this creates a really lovely space to talk about tough situations that everyone struggles with. 

Humour comes into my practice as a natural extension of my own coping mechanisms. It creates distance between the full force of whatever emotional distress is being experienced and allows a temporary relief from existential dread. 

Bioacoustics for artists
May 2017

Linelle Stepto, Australia

‘All things have the capacity for speech - all beings have the ability to communicate something of themselves to other beings.’

My area of exploration has always focussed on the animal/human interface.
If we can shift the thinking around our position in the world to question the old pyramidal structure that positions humans at the top, then we may be able to locate a less destructive and more sustainable way of being in the world. 

My practice attempts to reimagine the way we can live in the world, by perceiving the world of the Other. Sound is just one of the sensory pathways into that expanded perception; it is a maker of meaning. 

In work to date, enquiry into the manner in which other animals express their lives, sound becomes de-territorialised, removed from its usual context in an attempt to disrupt the anthropocentric encounter with the world. 

Abram, David. Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. Vintage Books, Random House Inc, New York p172



Natasha Lushetich, Singapore

I am an artist and theorist. Combining performance, video fragments, sitespecific installations and choreographies, I explore the poetics and politics of relationality, embodiment, and the status of sensory experience in cultural knowledge. Sceptical of historiographic models of accounting for past events, discipline-specific knowledge machines, and cultural hegemonies – those invisible articulations of experience that make up lived systems of meaning – I look to liminal practices, discarded spaces, eclectic imponderabilia, and palimpsest-like mediations of information. My purpose in assembling and disassembling patterns, situations, materials, and conceptual ingredients, is to articulate the indeterminacy of coherence and disparity, multiple perceptual velocities, incompatible scales of magnitude, and idiosyncrasy.

My theoretical work focuses on intermedia; aesthetics as ethics; the theories of time and the event; art as philosophy; the production of space; and biopolitics and performativity. An important part of my recent research is also strategic ignorance, agnotology, and the production of what Bernard Stiegler has called ‘systemic stupidity’ (Stiegler 2010). 

The focus of this project is inter-species poetics of space and embodiment, environmental-existential refrains (Guatarri) and their pertaining mnemonic processes (the assumption here is that memory, like knowledge, is environmentally embedded). This includes acoustics, kinaesthetics, spatial perception, and proprioception. I would like to give a talk on (multi-sensorial) interspecies memory.


Elizabeth Chitty, Ontario

I make primarily video and sound installations and performances, as  well  as  video,  artist’s  gardens  and  constructed  photographs.  I have worked with community-­‐based strategies  and  within  walking  practice.  My current work  is  place-­‐based  and  focuses  on  a  site’s  geology,  plants  and  birds,  natural  and  built  landscapes,  governance  including  treaties,  histories,  and  water  and  its  infrastructure.  

Although  audio  has  almost  always  been  part  of  my  work,  my  engagement  with  audio  changed  in  2016  with  a  self-­‐directed  residency  at  Warblers’  Roost  near  South  River  ON.  Having  worked  with  sound  artist  Darren  Copeland  many  times  in  the past,  last  June  I  went  to  Warblers’  Roost  under  his  mentorship  to  learn  to  edit  my  own  sound  material  with  REAPER  DAW.  I  also  improved  the  basic  recording  skills  I  first  learned  some  years  previously  with  New  Adventures  in  Sound  Art.  This  has  significantly  impacted  my  practice.  

My  work  is  research-­‐based  and  always  self-­‐directed.  I  would  very  much  benefit  from  working  in  an  environment  of  experts  and  other  artists.  Any  one  of  the  3  residencies  would  provide  me  with  an  opportunity  to  develop  skills,  explore  new  ways  of  working,  and  immerse  myself  in  work  away  from  my  usual  environment.  



Leap Second


And sometimes, mysteriously,
The sun blooms, it is a geranium.
Peace, Peace, she cannot hear Slow tyranny of moonlight, moonlight loved Where both deliberate, the love is slight: from the whitehearted water and when we touch As clover’s breath! 
In grass or sand,
But for the lovers, their arms
Who could discern when love was over.


Love Poem Explosion 
Krishan Mistry

As we rang in what looked to be a rather tumultuous new year, I was reminded of the old adage ‘Love Conquers All’ (or at least my Facebook newsfeed continued to remind me that we ‘just need more love in this world’). As a poet, I knew that I had a powerful tool of the erotic at my disposal: the love poem. Unfortunately, the residency that I had found my way into only provided me with 1 second to fix the world’s problems with a moving lyric of passionate desire. In fact, as I began to consider the possibilities of computer generation to solve my time related issues, I figured that I might as well take the quantity over quality approach so as to inject the world with as much love as I could. In my one second, I was able to produce over 400,000 love poems for my project, “Love Poem Explosion.”

The algorithm is fairly simplistic and the result of a happy accident that occurred when I was playing around with n-grams. Initially, I had compiled a corpus of preexisting love poems with the hope that a basic ngram model would produce interesting output. It did not. Later I was testing an extremely simple tool which would allow you to combine lines from different poems in a random order. I tested this tool on the love poem corpus and received 10 random lines. The results were surprisingly successful (most likely because these more archaic love poems used similar rhymes schemes and meter). I rewrote my original python script in C so it was as fast as possible and ran the program for 1 seconds. It produced 4526865 lines, a 153mb plain text file.


October 2016


Alia Shahab, Alberta

I investigate the unique relationships that people form with a specific place through their habitation. I create large-scale site-specific installations using natural and found materials offered by the environment that are meant to trigger interactions between people themselves and with their sense of that place - past, present, or future. I spend as much time as possible immersed within the particularities of a specific place to develop a relationship with it. The people and animals I may interact with through that immersion have fostered their own relationships with that space and together we add an important layer to that conceptual landscape. We are simultaneously shaping and being shaped by the spaces we inhabit, overlaying traces of the past onto present and future functions of that environment.

kuft   Kamille Cyr, Quebec

Articulating around a formal research about shapes and colors, these become the focal point of an ever
expanding corpus. Mathematics and logic are used as a composition system, this system allows an
exploration of scales, colors and shapes.
Structure, symbolism, rhythm and dynamics are used as a way to reflect on the tensions between a
calculative society and a cozy setting. An interest for standardization is enclosed in a playful and
graphical aesthetic.
Subjects such as the middle-class, routine, mass-production, urbanism, the natural world and childhood
becomes points of interest. Visual arts are used as a way of surpassing a description or analysis of the
way we experience our environment.

Rosalind Lowry, Ireland

I am a public artist, making site specific based work with groups of people and communities or collaborations with other Artists working in different disciplines, using whatever visual means and materials are suited to the project.
I am particularly interested in land art, and community involvement in the creation of artworks, and have collaborated with several artists on large scale works such as the Art Maze – a site specific work for an annual Agricultural Show.
Materials play an important role in my work, experimenting with natural materials, textiles, paper, paint and printmaking, pushing materials and understanding what they do. I am particularly interested in textiles as a material, with its fragile properties and possibilities.
Working in a rural area has a huge influence on my work and I am mainly interested in taking art to unexpected and unusual places, and using art to create a sense of place, or a shared space. This has particular relevance to Northern Irelands’ divided society.
With a long history of political and paramilitary influence on public art in Northern Ireland I am interested in using traditional techniques and systems but with shared outcomes for the whole community and using art to build community relations


Merena Nguyen, Australia

Since completing an Honours degree at Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), sculptural ceramics and installation have become my passions. My practice reveals my experimental manner where I combine abandoned furniture with special effects and prosthetics. The SCA faculty and its rich history as a psychiatric hospital (formerly known as the Callan Park Lunatic Asylum for the Mentally and Criminally Insane) have strongly influenced my practice and attitudes towards my conceptual and site-specific practices.

My works concentrate on notions of uncomfortable issues and anxieties in the contemporary age and its intrinsic relationship to a sense of body identity. My sculptures usually investigate what viewers may claim as the banal, question what may draw them in or perhaps repel them. By using bodily forms like skin and challenging viewers with the unfamiliar, I continually endeavor to reflect this link between attraction and repulsion through surreal installations. The significant feminist surrealists, Gothic literature and the psychological influence of space will continue to be explored in my body of work. There is no doubt that the opportunity to experience, gain insightful knowledge and visions, and networking from the unique Vestiges residency will greatly inspire my ongoing practice and research.


Jody Brooks, Georgia

My current work uses prose poetry to explore abandoned buildings, ruined landmarks, and urban decay. I’m particularly drawn to the architecture we erect, venerate, abandon, and ruin. Currently, I’m at work on a collection of flash fiction and hand-drawn architectural elevations about a series of famous sites—Glastonbury Tor, Angkor Wat, the Malwiya Minaret—each of which has suffered through erosion, destruction, and deterioration.  The collection, which explores the memories of our world’s sacred places, tells an unflattering story of humanity.

Attached is a section from Properties of Life, my first chapbook of prose poetry based on the architectural theories of Christopher Alexander. His “15 Properties of Life”—principles Alexander found common to all spaces that feel “alive,” spaces that appeal to us, that draw us in and tempt us to stay—drive the image-making. According to Alexander, all “living” spaces share certain identifiable characteristics, a set of features that keep showing up, again and again. If this is true of buildings, of cities, of landscapes, it might also be true of stories. If these properties define life in physical space, and we can translate them into story form, then maybe we can create a thing that feels alive and whose life is profound, even in the face of pollution, erosion, and human wreckage.

September 2016

Heather Layton

The most dangerous disease of humankind is the inability to imagine the world from another person, animal, and/or plant’s perspective. Using 2D, 3D, and time-based media, I construct fictional scenarios that encourage us to look more closely at those we are harming or neglecting in order to see that our fates are intertwined. To recognize the connection between a 68-year-old, Christian woman in Syracuse, New York, and a 22-year-old Muslim man in F.A.T.A., Pakistan, is to recognize our own place in the most exquisitely crafted system imaginable, a place where infinitely large and extraordinarily beautiful worlds exist within the cross-section of a stem.

t   Alison Neville, Utah

Fungi, maps, and political events permeate most of my work. I find them to be bizarre and otherworldly. This being said I cannot understand enough about them. I wonder how they can be combined, what can be learned from them? Are there ways to bring out those things that intrigue me? I examine world events and try to dissect them into understandable pieces. I try to play the scientist. The small and common button mushroom, available at every super-market, becomes the map for a nebula only seen through the eye of the Hubble Space telescope. I use maps to interpret political fragments into the cross-stitches that I can carry with me. Adding little indications of this research to make roads and public buildings. Cordyceps spring up in new varieties that choose kitsch statuettes as their hosts.


Ashley Carrega, Pennsylvania

I have been living in an American city for 6 years, and this divorced feeling comes from being nurtured on a mountain in my formative years, with a deep connection with the earth and universe. Being in a city it is easy to forget that connection and get caught up in the social aspects of life, which is important, and enlightening in its own right. My work regards the relationship between soul and environment. Environments like the grid of the city, or the serenity of a creek. This opportunity will help me to merge the multiple environments that comprise life.


Christine Moss, Woodstock, NY

I fracture, break, adhere and polish glass and stone of many vibrant colors. I sand rough edges, smear grout in between tesserae and rework older projects into new ones. Wood, stone, fabric, plant matter and insects, feathers, bones, paper and powdered pigments; I love to fit together different textures that tell a dream or a story. One summer I built an underwater city with river rocks re-balanced to shift the flow of water in the creek behind my house. After a few days, the fish were used to my presence and they feasted upon the disturbed silt as I worked alongside them. I forage for wild edibles and potential art supplies. I search and gather in outdoor markets, along roadsides and seashores, collecting little gems as I go.

I preserve and then reflect upon my findings. Time spent in nature is essential. Currently, I am head chef of a vegan restaurant and continually experiment and play with new flavors, aromas and presentations. At night my dreams are tangible, alternate realities with familiar faces and locations that end up in the images I create or the poetry that I write. Then, when the sun rises I quietly watch and listen; entering my studio, I interpret the world around me.


Cameron Dueck, Hong Kong

Cameron Dueck is a writer, adventurer and filmmaker. His first book, iPad app and documentary film, The New Northwest Passage, tell the story of his voyage through the Canadian Arctic as the captain of his own sailing yacht. He has just returned from an 8-month, 45,000km, 19-country motorcycle journey in research of his second book and film, about Mennonite culture in the Americas. Follow him on Twitter or read hisblog to learn more about his adventures.


August 2016


Krista Hoeppner Leahy,  NYC

I write about longing and transformation, in all its forms, and hope to catch the edge of the unexpected so that the reader might experience their own eddy of transformation.

The Quench residence feels vital and necessary to me as water, its use, and conflict over its use has never been more important in our world.  Specifically, I am working on a novel where how water connects the inhabitants and lands is central to the story.

I am expanding my previously published story "Killing Curses, a Caught-Heart Quest" into a novel.  The story is a mythopoetic fable combining established archetypal characters (a Quixote, a Midas) with new archetypal characters (a curse-killer, a walking tree).  The world features a dipping pool, waterfall, aqueduct, and ice geyser as some of the entry-points between lands.


Shu-Ju Wang, Portland

My work has largely been about the profound and sometimes catastrophic transformations of our lives. Since 2013, I have focused on the subject of water— water as giver of life, as identity, as tools for industrialization and exploration, as dumping ground, as power.
Work includes Water, a collaborative artist’s book of two poems with poet Emily Newberry; The Future Dictionary of Water, an on-going community engagement project; two solo exhibits of paintings & mixed media work, FLUID DYNAMICS in 2014 and IMBUE/IMBUERE in 2016. In 2015, I introduced Dictionary in the annual THE RECYCLED RAIN PROJECT where I invited the community to invent and define new words for our future relationship with water. IMBUE/IMBUERE included the work completed thus far, plus 2- & 3- dimensional work about life on the boundary of land and water. The community participation for Dictionary will continue through 2017 and will culminate in a book (an illustrated dictionary). Imbue––to saturate with meaning—derives from the Latin imbuere—to saturate with water. What can be more saturated with meaning than water? Life can not exist without it, thus all meaning in life is dependent upon it.

uy   Muffin Bernstein, New Orleans

The variety and multiplicity of threats to pollinators and pollination generate risks to people and livelihoods, these risks are largely driven by changes in land cover and agricultural management systems, including pesticide use." (UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). 2016)

Nature’s cycle of death and renewal is my continued source of inspiration. These medallions capture isolated and transient moments that highlight beauty and delight. Photographic collages of numerous images, my work seeks to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary -- reaffirming the wonder and intrinsic value of the natural world. Though my own journey as an artist has included setbacks such as health problems and total loss of my catalog of work to an apartment fire, it has been in nature that I have found the will and inspiration to continue creating.

Elysanne Tremblay, Montreal

Focused on painting, sculpture and installation, my work is
devoted to the creation of places that host all kinds of life-forms interacting with
the environment in which they evolve. I seek to be a sort of servant for natural
auxiliaries by creating an environment where I take pleasure in imagining the
fostering of all forms. With the intention of gaining acceptance into their
community, I shape the landscape of my exploration field as an animal looking for
surprises among the material components.
I enjoy working with the landscape, with the inanimate and the animate
earth. I see the animate elements (as rain and wind) as very active and curious
elements with a creative potential that seek, with human intentions, to participate
and contribute by entering in contact with art. I like performing and dancing with
those elements, showing them my colors and breaking the silence between us.
By creating with nature, I attempt to be a part of this landscape, of all elements
that already converse between each other.


Women on the Wing
July 2016




Cecília Bona, Brasil

My work consists on minimum displacements of all sort of things from their common place, such as light, home objects or even stones, in site specific installations or assemblies, to reach the viewers' perception of the phenomena of light, space and time in a very subtle and sometimes ironic way.

Objects and tools that are supposed to measure with precision these phenomena, are many times invented as if they could make them more concrete. As these invented tools fail to measure what we can only perceive, they remind us how unreal everything that seems so precise to us is and teach us how limited we are in opposition to cosmic time and space.

Noticing these phenomena, to which we do not usually give any attention on our everyday routine, demands a certain sensibility, and I can only try to suggest this connection. Standing before art we are more keen and open to perceive what we are not accustomed to.

I try to provoke the impact of the existence of the phenomena using the subject as the center of the experience. Through art it is possible to reframe our point of view, to find a place where integration is found to promote union of humankind, where men step away from their psychological and physical position to just be next to their similar and to themselves, by experience. But once understood, such abstract dimensions throw us on a universe of widened scale leading us to recognize our own unimportance and this requires courage.



Lindsey Clark-Ryan, USA

I work primarily in installation and printmaking to investigate the precarious line between the graphic and the object, static and mobile, art and tool, control and chance. While my projects take on a variety of forms and subjects, they are all in service of an observational attitude that is equally absurd in its approach to the quotidian and the extreme. The sensibility is a sly, particular notation of the world that remains consistent whether shopping at Target or launching into outer space. Much of my work is expeditionary or semi-­‐scientific and concerned with either an archivist impulse or the experience of flinging oneself out into the world, literally or figuratively. Several of my recent projects involve a very close attention to objects and to how people interact with and organize their behavior around them.


kf   Tina Havlock Stevens, Australia
yu   Vaila Robertson, Scotland 

Space traveler. Cloud gazer. Pilot. Air spirit. Sky worshiper. I can’t imagine a better way to describe myself. I’m an adventurer at heart, most at home in a boat at sea or up a mountain or soaring on the yoga mat. The sky was always going to be my next destination. I am currently living in the Orkney Isles of Scotland making art and being blown away by the skyes. There are few places in the world where you can feel so in the sky with your feet planted firmly on earth. The horizon is endless, the line between sea and sky is indiscernible and the exposure to the elements means the changes in the sky are extreme and rapid. While in Orkney I have become fascinated by the scale of the infinite universe so have tried to express the architecture of space, light and time in my work. I have turned solid rock formations into fluid textile designs using digital media, I’ve explored the role of circles and waves as an expression of infinity and I have created sculptures and prints it that try to capture the feeling of being submerged in expansive light and space.  


Jaq Belcher, NYC

Jaq Belcher’s work is founded in a contemplative process of reduction and repetition. It was a practice she began in 2001 after moving to NYC. Each unique work begins with an unblemished sheet of white paper, a pencil, and countless x-acto blades. Belcher then proceeds to rupture the surface of the paper, slicing thousands of “seeds”, a form, commonly known as the vesica piscis.  The cuts are often in the tens of thousands and are counted prior to the forms being raised, then noted along with corresponding dates along the margins of each work.

Complex patterns emerge; Belcher references cross cultural meditative rituals, sacred geometry, semiotic, mystic connotation to the origins of light, the ebb and flow of nature, and dimensions of the human form and its energy fields. Consciously placing importance on the effect of each individual amendment to the surface of her paper, varying the scale and alternating the “intensity” of cut, Belcher investigates her own personal and spiritual understanding of frequency, creating a palette of white light that can play with the environments the works are seen in. A hybrid between drawing and object, the artist considers them primitive blue prints of alternate states of being. Fields of energy intended to interact with those who stand before them.


Kristen Currier, Boston

I grew up moving across the country with my air force family and I’m currently living in Boston. I received my BFA in animation at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2016. I like to combine hand drawn textures with digital composites in mostly mixed media pieces. I focus on cinematography, and try to employ a live action approach to it even when working in animation. My films have been screened in film festivals both internationally and domestically. I have always found infinite inspiration from the sky. I love animated documentary and have strong interests in cryptozoology and aviation.

I spent the last year completing my thesis film Gaining Altitude, an animated documentary about women in aviation history. The film was created after months of research and combines a wide variety of techniques. I really love exploring the forgotten women in aviation. One of my current goals is to work towards getting my own pilots license.  I have a strong sense of adventure and love to explore using my films and sketchbooks. This seems like an incredible opportunity for discovery. I feel strongly that this residency would make a huge and lasting impact on my work.

July 2016


Heather Komus, Winnipeg, Manitoba

I work in mixed media, bio textiles, sculpture and installation, creating my own processes and surfaces that often incorporate embroidery, animal matter and found objects. Drawing upon a deep interest in science, I create highly physical work, investigating our relationship to the natural world. When exploring the abject, I consider attraction and repulsion, the tensions of corporeal experience, and subsequent breakdown of boundaries and loss of control. I am interested in ideas or organisms that seem non--‐binary, existing somewhere between living/dead, organic/industrial, internal/external, as an expression of how we live in the industrial world. In my work I slow and narrow my focus, delving into research, exploring landscapes, ecosystems and textures, embroidering and gathering objects, often referencing slow natural processes like degradation, sedimentation and decomposition. In my highly physical, and intuitive processes, my hands are in direct dialogue with my materials creating textures, tensions, rhythms, sensations and physical reactions. An experience with organic matter, a body or its viscera is like the sting of an insect – it is a genuinely raw and present moment with the body and the natural world.


Cole Swanson, Toronto

At the heart of my recent work is a posthumanist exploration of materials and their social, cultural, and biological histories. Embedded within art media and commonplace resources are complex relations between nature and culture, humans and other agents, consumers and the consumed.

My most recent project, Out of the Strong, Something Sweet began with an examination of everyday commodities and their animal-origins. This work centres around an exploration of two potent animal worlds – honeybees and domestic cattle. Connected through pre-modern rituals, allegory, and agriculture, these two species have been agential in shaping contemporary human civilization. Similarly, without human intervention, such animals would not exist in the world as we currently know them.

Through installation, field recordings, painting, and sculpture, my work attempts to bridge the gaps between disciplines and methodologies, combining a sensitivity to the distinct worlds of different species with an awareness of the gravity and agency of animal-symbols pervasive in contemporary culture. It is impossible for humans to understand the worlds of other animals. Out of the Strong, Something Sweet presents a space saturated with interspecies relationships that challenge reductive perspectives on the animal-other that dominate
contemporary life. By reimagining relationships between species, the biological, spiritual, and socio-politico-cultural forces at play become palpable.



Melinda Hurst Frye

Underneath: Views of implied urban subterranean ecosystems and life beneath our toes.

With dirt under my nails, my heart jumps when my hand brushes against a worm in the soil. I am reminded of the world that thrives underground, unsettled by the mystery that is at my fingertips. I watch the beetle make its path through the strawberry plants. Who else is below me making their work in and on the earth? The success and diversity of life near and below the surface contributes directly to life and survival above the surface, however it is a dominant mystery to many. ‘Underneath’ is a series of implied urban subterranean ecosystems, an illustrated look at what lives, dies and feasts at ground level and below. The work is a combination of scans, photographs and digital painting, brought together to build a realistic, though peculiar scene. Exploiting the detail from the high-resolution images, the viewer can examine the underground tableaux closely as it unfolds and reveals itself. The images live in the space between the real and the mysterious to echo wonder and discovery.



  Chloe Rodham, UK

I am an artist, model maker and animator based in the North East of England. I create my work using a combination of stopmotion and digital animation. I regularly gather inspiration from the natural world and have recently started to explore using a variety of gathered natural materials in my artwork. I combine multiple techniques and processes including: armature construction, sculpting, casting, and sewing to create my puppets. I breathe life into the models, manipulating and capturing their forms to create stopmotion animation.

Having been commissioned to produce a number of music videos and short films since graduating from the University of the Creative Arts in 2010, my current goal is to develop my noncommercial artistic practice. I recently created ‘The Illuminarium,’ an exhibition piece which allowed me to explore my particular interest in moths. My present aims are to produce a wider body of artistic work based on the themes and materials I began to explore in this piece. I am particularly interested in exploring opportunities which will contribute to my artistic development.


Amber Chiozza, Houston, TX  

My focus has always been on insects and arachnids, particularly in conjunction with human fascination and repulsion with them. There are many ways that humans anthropomorphize their behavior, including mythology and naming systems. I often highlight these behaviors, and their importance, in my own work. Their difference in scale, purpose, and form fascinates me, and I create books and prints as a means of studying and sharing this fascination.

 I work with printmaking and book arts, and find the tactility of metal and paper to best express my imagery. These both cultivate the use of repetition, and a rich sense of time and narrative. Because both mediums are steeped in the tradition of fine art as well as scientific illustration, I find that I am able to walk the line between the two. Above all, I aim for my work to both educate viewers and rouse curiosity about my chosen subject matter.




Brenda Petays, Victoria, BC

My work explores cultural identity, cultural adaptation and relationships between people and the land. I am interested in human behaviors, motivations and social interactions. My main method of working is observation. I spend a lot of time watching what people do. Through artworks I interpret my observations – in notes and drawings – which take shape as art forms: performances, installations, paintings or sculptures.I enjoy building collaborative projects within a community and working in an assemblage process with materials often collected from the local environment. I am open-minded to learning new disciplines and skills to push my work forward and explore different ideas/cultures.

Art and craft are a way of thinking about the world that enables me to form and develop my identity and see the identity of others. Art making and communicating through art is a self-affirming activity that helps me to interpret, think about and challenge conventions.  


Biophilia: Nocturne
summer 2016

uy   Anastassia Kouxenko, Sydney, Australia

Growing up in a working suburb, my access to the natural world was limited, and I developed an obsession for it through documentaries and written works of both fiction and non-fiction. My work has always showcased animals and nature in various forms, particularly in terms of trying to capture its beauty in a way that is neither true imitation nor complete fiction. I have always held a deep fascination for the natural sciences, and after studying both Biology and Ecology they have formed an integral part of my conceptual approach to creating works.

For the past year I have been exploring a theory that there is an inherent link between separation from nature and the development of a particular kind of romance with it; one that is inclined to turn dark and warped while retaining an alluring yet abject aesthetic (as exemplified by the blossoming of Gothic Romance alongside the Industrial Revolution). Currently my practice revolves around using Gothicism and early science fiction as a lens through which to capture nature as it manifests itself in suburban spaces, and the ways in this differs from more ‘natural’ environments.

I work primarily with polymer clay but many of my works also feature gemstones and synthesized crystals.

Evan Larson-Voltz, Michigan 

My work centers on ideas of pre-­‐linguistic and root forms of communication. Through blending natural and abstracted systems, my metal work and sculptures point to causality connections and break downs of transformation and mutation. For example in “Protozoa Transforming to Splash” and “Sponge and Protozoa”, juxtaposes droplets and wave patterns to coded languages such as schematics, texts and mapping as a representation landscape of/for the mind. Whereas “A Meta-­‐Fiction” looks at presentation modes that are utilized within the separate contexts of the art world, scientific community and domesticated mantel displays and how they morphologically change one another’s approach to communication. By incorporating natural occurring signifiers and interpretative models, I am able to extrapolate works that share the organic growth of language as an interdependent and universally understood system. Further the examination of such interrelationships suggests a moment of feeling or spirituality, which is created by the meta-­‐ linguistic organizational strategies employed.


Holly Townson, Toronto

Holly Townson graduated from York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Education. Through the refreshing nature of her work, she amalgamates the grounded and familiar, with the fanciful and bizarre. She explores polarity in her work by embracing severe contrasts through visually stimulating, unpredictable dynamics that mimic synthetic and raw matter. Natural processes of shedding skin and fruition, change, motion, impermanence and connectivity are concepts that inspire her work. Her evolving style often includes saturated hues and flat void spaces interacting with mountainous forms and abstracted fleshes. The suspension of forms in foreign space, existing on the brink of recognition are discordant, yet assume a harmony within their fragmentation. Themes within her work include humankind/nature, utopia/dystopia, chaos and consumption.


u   Inga Maria Brynjarsdottir, Iceland

Born in Reykjavik, Iceland, graduated from the Icelandic Academy of the arts in the year 2004.
Since then, Inga Maria has been working in the fields of fine arts, illustration, design and animation.

Inga Maria´s work is based on her fascination with nature, wildlife and the oddities and ugliness in life. 
Inga Maria combines real life with the imaginary with a slash of distortion, which varies.


Biophilia: Peep, Croak, Growl
spring 2016




  Stephanie Sherriff, California 

My artwork is experiential in nature and tends to manifest as sculptural, media based installations and performances
that are often living, changing, and sometimes dying. In my process I observe, collect, deconstruct, and recompose
found objects, light, plants, scents, video, and audio recordings to create new, abstracted environments and
experiences of the familiar. By recontextualizing the familiar I aim to explore the possibilities of phenomenology in
relation to art.
How do our senses inform objects and act as a conduit for personal experience?

In terms of my own experience, I feel a strong, visceral connection with nature, which is deeply rooted in my attempt
to create new territories and poetic phenomena. I am fascinated with the visual and sonic cadence expressed in the
lifecycles and songs of cicadas, frogs, crickets, birds, and trees, which often act as devices for metaphorical travel
in my work.

Time is also often a key component in the evolution and experience of my work, as elements in each piece change
and exist only in time. For example, my work with grass is an implicit observation of the intrinsic lifecycle of the
material. Without the element of time the work is incomplete. The same can be said of my work with sound and
video, where one moment is extracted, recorded, and then reorganized to create a new sonic or visual landscape
existing in its own space and time. Ultimately I aim to elicit personal connection with abstracted forms through
sensory experience in order to reflect upon human behavior.



Michael McDermott, Philidelphia

 My sound art practice sits at the nexus between present moment awareness, deep time and humanity’s personal connection through listening. I have created works for video, dance, stage, installation, smart phones, multi-speaker arrays, wind sculptures, wishing wells and deep sleep. My work integrates a daily practice of meditation, Deep Listening and textured sound worlds through a process called “sonic photography”. This process involves site specific recordings of physical spaces re-imagined using photographic development and collage techniques. My aim is to re-frame the everyday world as both a grand statement that stretches out in both directions of time and as an ephemeral instant of precious connection. I have a special recent interest in presenting, preserving and contextualizing ecological sound environments. I'm currently working on a project of re-imagined voices of extinct animals using altered sounds of living animals and synthesized sounds. 


Jeffery Yip, California

I’m interested in combining the physical and digital realms. My creations incorporate found materials arranged in a tessellated array of three-dimensional formations. I overlay these sculptures with geometrically mapped projections of specifically tailored motion graphics. My animations are inspired by reoccurring mathematical patterns found in nature such as the Fibonacci sequence, the golden ratio and other forms of geometry. As these shapes shift, melt and contort, they highlight the sculpture’s white painted surface with bright vivid colors.


In addition, metallic and organic auditory information is added in the form of synthesized sound waves. The transformative textures render rhythmically to the undulating soundscapes of the zaps, bleeps and blaps. With this augmentation, viewers are not restricted to the traditional paradigm of a two-dimensional viewing screen. With playful elements of illusion, I generate themes of my vision of the future, space, nature and alternate dimensions. My intention with this symbiosis of the digitized physical is to simulate a state of consciousness not experienced in our everyday realities.



Nadya Eidelstein, Toronto

I am a multi-disciplinary artist, designer and programmer. Initially, I started my studies as a jewellery designer but the interest in technology and different kinds of media brought me to extend my area of exploration and research into the field of new media. Currently I am working and experimenting with a variety of media and techniques, combining together digital and hand skills to create the hybrids and creatures that reflect my understanding of the current digital age. I am swimming in the huge ocean of new media in search of new ways of seeing and creating and I am widely open for new ideas and collaborations.



Koizora, Fall 2015


Vivian Charlesworth


  Vivian Charlesworth

Through the employment of a rigorous research and writing practice, I pull from history, philosophy, science and literature to create immersive environments that assert their own constructed truth. In each artwork, I incorporate a variety of media (sound, lighting, video, found and constructed objects, etc…) that I invite the viewer to investigate and physically engage with. Every environment I create is a full sensory experience that fosters the sensation of stepping into the middle of a narrative.

In my work, I draw inspiration from astronomical history, Victorian spectacle, the military industrial complex and my time recently spent researching and visiting California air force bases, rocket test facilities and NASA research centers. I mythologize the unknown or classified, and attempt to promote a dialogue about environmental disintegration, scientific observation and social responsibility.


Jody Arthur



Jody Arthur

I have held a passport since infancy; travel has always been an integral part of my life and as such, it has always been an important focus of my art practice. This fascination with travel has included work that has touched upon exploration and migration, the beauty of maps, the mechanics and romance of navigation, how location and movement affects identity, and how we imagine life in outer space. As a book artist, writer, and printmaker, I explore these ideas through story and image.

Over the course of several years I created work in response to humanity’s ventures into space flight, exploring the tension between domestic spheres and the practicalities of the NASA space program. This project resulted in collages, large scale drawings, and even cardboard spaceships and playful etiquette brochures for astronauts. When I completed my MFA in book arts and printmaking, my thesis exhibition focused on a personal navigation across the pacific. I studied maps and the navigational practices of native islanders, and developed my own interpretations.


Mary ellen Childs



Mary Ellen Childs

I am a composer who creates both instrumental concert compositions and interdisciplinary performance works. I have long been interested in flight and, currently I am in the early stages of conceptualizing and researching material for a multi-media opera, The Urge to Fly, that looks at the nature of flight and the infinite. The intention of the work will be to explore the human desire to fly as a desire to commune with the infinite, which leads to the opening of – the soaring of – the human heart. At present I envision that the opera will explore various experiences of flight: early unsuccessful attempts to construct strange flying machines; 1930s barnstormers; space exploration; and the experience of a mystic, in the of a knitter who never moves from her rocking chair, but experiences flying nonetheless. 

I believe flight to be a rich and multi-dimensional subject and over time I'm interested in creating additional new works related to the topic. I am especially interested in the spiritual dimensions of flight, the emotions of flight (from trepidation to euphoria), the imagination of flight (early designs for strange flying machines, for instance), and flight in all of its incarnations (a bird; a kite; clouds; a child swinging; a leaf falling; bombs falling; the arc of a baseball through the air), and the mystery of the night sky.


Sandi Milford



Sandi Milford

I am an Edinburg, Texas based artist who has a desire to blend the fields of science and fine art.  My background is grounded in an understanding of biology and life sciences, followed by an exploration into the field of fine art.  My current work involves an appreciation for all things living, with an emphasis placed on the mechanisms needed to produce life and how precise they need to be for everything to function properly.  I have been using 3-D printing to represent sculptural forms from nature and place them on the body, as well as experimentation with installation pieces.

I am currently taking time to work on my portfolio and experiment with new mediums.  I pursued a B.S. of Biology followed by a B.F.A. with emphasis in CAD-CAM/Jewelry/Metals from the University of Texas – Pan American.  During my B.F.A. I was a supplemental instructor for a Genetics course and that experience greatly influenced my understanding of the body and in turn my current work.  Originally focused on illustration, creating in 3-D has opened up many possibilities for me.  Future plans are to make biological sculptural forms interactive, and experiment with installation and performance pieces.


Samwell Freeman

Samwell Freeman

I make software and hardware. My artwork is interactive; aiming for interactions that activate pictorial space, transforming the viewer of a piece into a participant or even better-- a creator! My software functions as a platform for creativity, facilitating drawing, image mash-ups and programming novel processes. The hardware I make includes printed circuit boards, drawings, paintings, fountains, and kinetic sculptures. They are augmented with electronic sensors, able to react to their surroundings. Accelerometers, gyroscopes and joysticks interface between the virtual and physical worlds. These gadgets enable the pieces to become tactile. Whenever I see a sign that reads ‘Please Don’t Touch the Art’, my heart sinks. Please touch my art! I hope it will touch you too.

 Art asks questions. The quiet, contemplative space of visual art allows critical inquiry into technology, instead of the vapid and breathless glorification we see in the marketplace. Repurposing obsolete technology, and irreverently deploying current ones, can teach us about our lives as aging cyborgs. I'm looking for a starry synthesis of the shiny speedy electron and the soft wrinkly human. In a matter of decades, electric technology has extended our central nervous system across the globe and connected it with almost every living person. The impact of this on our society and on each of us individually is so profound that it is almost impossible to talk about. Through carefully programmed interactions the assumptions and demands underlying electric technology can be rendered in plain sight. As Samuel Johnson said about poetry, I want to make familiar things seem new, and simultaneously make new things feel familiar.

Biophilia, Fall 2015




Lucie Strecker, Germany

 My work focuses on the relationship between ecology and performance, which has influenced theories of action/reaction, audience/player, somatic techniques, improvisation or other systems of training and collaboration. I query concepts of ecology and Umwelt and how they have changed since biotechnology reproduces or synthetic biology has engineered life, and placed it in the ambiguous realm of being created both naturally and technologically. I consider the theoretical understanding of biological materiality as well as the tangible creation of experimental settings, in which the used media change meaning and latent narrative structures become perceivable, as crucial for the development of my performance practices. Along the relation between apparatuses, humans and non-humans, I develop texts, choreographies and scenographies that deal with the ontological changes, new normative assumptions and ethical concerns, that life itself faces under the influence of technological biodesign and new orders in ecological systems.





Mellissa Fisher, UK

I am a London based artist whose background stems from an interest in the interrelationships between fine art, illustration and science. My most recent works consist of a deep exploration of the connections between nature and the human body. I have been experimenting with using agar as a sculpting medium, producing bacterial portraits, which live and die, representing the ecosystem of the life cycle.

 I am currently studying a Masters Degree at Central Saint Martins, where I have just finished my first year. I have been exploring the wonders of nature and how growing cress seeds inside an agar sculpture can distort and reshape the original structure.

 I am keen to explore nature in more depth as I see my work heading that way in the future, my intention with the work is to engage with a wide audience, provoke thought, provoke emotion and discussion as well as enabling people to think about what is around them and what should be preserved for a better life. 

Bad feeding



Karolina Żyniewicz, Poland

 The core of my interest is the balance between nature and culture, as represented through visual arts. Nature provides me with a setting or environment to examine area aesthetics. Having abandoned the making of representational work, I developed my preference for objects and installations that require interaction. Art, to my mind, should be an investigation similar to science. The most important aspect is the process. The piece of art or exhibition exists for some time and then disappears, as do all living things. It is about asking questions, researching and seeking adventure. A major factor in my work is curiosity. I am interested in all aspects of the natural world and while I can't know or learn everything, art allows me to use every area of knowledge without specialisation. It is a place for making relationships between different layers of thinking. I value and appreciate cooperation with people, the transfer of knowledge and sharing experiences. This was the motivation of my recent collaborations with Departments of Education in both the Museum of Modern Art and National Gallery Zachęta in Warsaw.






Maria Dmitruk, Poland

I am a multimedia artist, whose projects focus on involving audience – I’m very interested in all kinds of interactive projects. My means of expression on one hand include installations open to a dialogue with space and on the other hand, objects – sometimes small – which focus  on details, structures and textures showing the unity in diversity among organic forms. Natural sciences have always been a great passion of mine. As I progress along my artistic path, I become more and more aware of the importance of ecological issues. I try to avoid synthetic materials – it is a gesture of respect for the Earth and its produce. Besides, I think no other substance is as noble, as the one coming directly from the nature itself.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
I have developed a number of projects using soil; recently I turned to bio-art in its more precise meaning. At the moment, I’m working on my PhD project, which concerns plant physiology; specifically speaking – the phenomenon of etiolation. The darkness, I’m dealing with, is a natural condition, permanently present in most of the Universe. Darkness on our privileged planet, which is natural, seems to be conceptualised as an instance of absence –  an absence of light, which influences vegetation in nature and influences human mind. Darkness represents both existential anxiety and concern about the future of natural environment.                
Projects, which I develop, require a lot of meticulous work and of an interdisciplinary co-operation with scientists and technology experts – it’s not the number of projects that matters to me, but their meaningfulness. This style of work makes me concentrate on the process of creation and I find  it important to share it with others.   I believe that an intellectual community of like-minded people, who are at the same time individuals coming from different backgrounds can benefit with a significant  and universal change.    




Adrian E. Rivera, NYC

Technology exists only in the presence of living beings. In the same way those beings are formed by nature around them. My work is derived from a source object or concept, the structures grow and deform in response to it’s surroundings. As new structures are formed pre-existing ones may shift and bend in the wake of new matter. As I imitate aspects of the natural world I wish to provide organisms the ability to take forms not seen before by removing control and allowing living matter to grow onto the structures I have created. In doing so the remains of previous beings are consumed and integrated in a new whole. 

My work is often dependent on a self imposed limit of time; this creates a sense of urgency which allows me to create intuitively. This fluid workflow translates to the final piece. My materials include things such as 3D printed plastic, animal bones, mycelium, moss and other plants.


Biophilia, Summer 2015




Anika Schneider, USA

Our society has a poor history with environmental stewardship. One of the cultural ideas we need to wrestle with in today’s environmental crisis is whether we are a part of nature or apart from nature. As the media plays such a significant role in our society in shaping our ideas and opinions, I scoured news stories to better understand how the media presents the natural world. In these news stories, I discovered themes of struggle between humans and the environments in which we live. From stories of combatting floods, forest fires, tides, etc., humans were presented as not living with nature but rather battling it and attempting to keep natural forces at bay. In my paintings, I pair contrasting painting techniques of thin drippy glazes and thick brush strokes to depict this tension between man and nature. My paintings have an aura of mystery, which is created through unclear subject matter and a layering of paint to capture how unsettled and vulnerable humans feel when constantly battling their environment, instead of living with it. As I worked with news stories, I began to place landscapes from my life and my own self into the paintings to question my own place in the natural world.


imaculate dissection
Michael Barraco, NYC
Immaculate Dissection

I am a Brooklyn based artist interested in exploring the blunt physical reality of existence through the use of organic materials. Spider webs, insects, found road kill, and vernacular photography all have a place in the construction of my work. By combining these elements and changing their context I create objects that elicit an immediate, visceral confrontation with the material, while at the same time also creating a clinical distance from the subject matter. The effect is one of anesthetized physicality, and it allows me to materialize the intangible while also making very clear distinctions between reality and illusion.

Drawing upon my accrued secular perspective and the mundane violence of the everyday, I aim to engage in a dialogue that reflects the conflicts, emotions, and failures that arise in daily experience. My focus on the physical presence of objects and their ephemerally arises from the contemplation of my current perspective, which contrasts strongly with the intangibility of the spiritual universe of my Catholic adolescence.  I believe by more fully immersing myself in the environment of my subject matter I will emerge with a greater understanding of my practice.




Marjorie Lemay, Montreal
In the last 15 years, through drawing, painting, etching and photography, and in a desire to capture its essence, I developed a hybrid visual language that enables me to project myself into the Animal and unveil my singular imagination. As an artist, I continuously strive to renew my creativity and explore new ways to harness matter and refine my graphic language. My work tends to adopt a narrative shape and experimental film (especially animation) appears to me as a way to orchestrate my visual language with a new sound dimension. My work has been presented in thirty events and group exhibits, particularly at the 2005 Junction Arts Festival in Toronto, the Joyce Yahouda Gallery in 2004 and at the 2004 Photomahon (Montréal/Guadalajara edition). My last exhibition, Ursus Maritimus,was presented at Maison de la culture Frontenac de Montréal in February 2008.
My animation films Les Nocturnes and Auscultation of the Heart produced at Mel hoppenheim School of Cinema in 2010-2012 received significant recognition and acclaim in many important national and international film festivals.
Since 2012, I am a new mom and I have the chance to experience working as an educator and a teacher assistant in different contexts and schools with adults, teens and children. I feel that it nourishes my art practice a lot and help me understand more about collaborative works. I am also currently collaborating with a theater group (Le Théâtre du Cerisier) creating animated sequences for a puppets show that will be shown to teenagers in 2015-16.
As an MFA student in Film Production since September 2014, I am exploring different cinematic approaches to celebrate nonhuman life forms, Sanctuaries and wildlife preservation. In a continual quest for finding ways to engage the spectator in a dialogue with Nature, I am really excited to participate to residencies like yours that celebrate Art and Science and Nature. I have just finish writing a paper about Nature and Sound Art and I would like to experiment more in that field.




William Scully, USA
Nature is the inspiration for my photographic work and I enjoy seeking out and probing into overlooked microcosms within the natural world. With an approach to art that is both exploratory and methodical, I look for gesture in nature by wandering natural realms with my camera and sampling the many variations in light and atmosphere that change with time and season and weather. The sensual quality of my artwork reflects the physicality connecting me to the environment as I photograph. Engaging nature in this way, I explore the landscape and embed the experience in my art.

My educational background in engineering and actuarial science has given me a studious approach to art, and the results of my photography often lead me to more in-depth research on my subjects. Recently I have been studying lithographic printing techniques for reproducing my work. Full of many variables, lithography involves a complex craftsmanship that I find appealing to both the artistic and the analytical aspects of my personality. This intertwining of exploration and learning through art is what I find most compelling about being an artist. 





John Deamond, USA
My work explores the border of the human and the natural through processes often on the borders of photography. Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera) builds a process that captures the spirit of a place through its leavings: those parts cast on the ground to decompose or grow into new plants. These two types of leavings are the summation of the natural processes of a place; the beginning and end of life cycles occur side by side and feed one another, entropic and organizing processes work together to build a biological community. Like all of my recent work, I consider these pieces to be environmental portraits: ways of telling nature’s personal story, whether it be of Nova Scotia, the Chesapeake Bay, or even contemporary attitudes toward extinction. A Field Guide to the Extinct and Extirpated Birds of North America takes on the latter. Through a book and collection, this work guides visitors through my investigations of extinct North American birds. It juxtaposes images and data from natural history institutions and eBay with traditional field guide pages to tell the continuing story of these birds; how, despite using them until they were gone, we continue to find new uses. 


Geophilia, Summer 2015


Karen Abel is a Canadian artist and naturalist based in Toronto. Her site-sensitive installations and public art works consider, engage and accommodate 21st century urban ecology and biodiversity. Concerned with ephemera and ‘slow art’ processes, Abel is interested in contributing to a culture of ecology through research-intensive, season and time based practices. She holds an interdisciplinary Master in Environmental Studies from York University in environmental art practice, cultural production and community art. Abel has realized art gardens and permanent ecological art projects through public art initiatives with the Ontario Science Center and Walpole Island First Nation. She received the 2013 Ontario Association of Landscape Architects/GROUND Award for GeoGarden {A subterranean symphony in C}, a landscape-themed project about geological time and the musicality of natural processes. In 2014, she was the recipient of the Jury’s Choice Award and Ontario Association of Landscape Architects/GROUND Award for Vernal Pool, a participatory art project about water, place and precipitation.



Heather Vida-Moore, Canada

My process involves making investigations into psychology, consciousness and identity through research, experience and experiments. While I am motivated by engaging with concepts, my ideas are transferred into my work intuitively, as I try to stay receptive and let the piece inform me of its needs. I sometimes use my own life experiences to fuel my practice and interrogate things like the abject, fragmentation, transformation, and the value found in both suffering and healing.
While I often feel the impulse to treat my pieces as problems to be solved, my method of resolving a piece is usually through the disruption of comfortable preferences, and I enjoy the tension created by ambiguity or displacement. The act of making art is for me both meditative and intensely stimulating, and I hope for such a response on the part of the viewer as well.

Andrew Godsalve, Canada

My work is an exploration of human perception and landscape, within the context of geologic and digital-photographic processes. By using photography and the geological record in referencing space and time, and collapsing the boundaries traditionally imposed by these dimensions within the digital canvas, I explore new ways of envisioning the earth within the image. Geological formations are the focus of my work; I am drawn to the contrasts and surprising similarities between processes of geology and digital photography. Rocks which have undergone millions of years of transformation translate into forms of digital information and light in a fraction of a second, both events carrying equal degrees of intangibility for the human observer. My work is inspired by the unexpected results of collisions I create between these “inaccessible” processes, on opposite ends of our temporal spectrum.  
My practice involves choosing a location of interest and photographing it extensively, building an archive of images which are subsequently used as material in creating a digital collage. The photos are fragmented and “recombined” into radical new forms in the digital canvas, eschewing conventional landscape reference points. The completed forms challenge the viewer with new depictions of geologic time and human space, provoking a re-appraisal of the substance of our world and our own presence upon it.
Thea Fridman
, Israel

I choose to imitate nature but the result is not necessarily mimesis: By following and observing nature I am stimulated to create new figurative and nonfigurative shapes that echo my inner self.
My biography and my connection to other circles around me find expression through the use of objects and impressions that I collect in both the natural sphere and in urban spaces.  Dialogs between one and the many, the active and the non-active, the observer and the observed, play an interesting and significant roll both in nature and the urban arena. I find that the most significant moments of my work is when the border between the object and my self-awareness blurs. The object becomes an extension of my consciousness.

Art as a way to metamorphosis Most of my work is produced over long durations of time. The work as a whole and as a fragment of a larger whole, changes through time.

The fragment is a whole: Through observing or using pieces of nature, a joy of creativity is awakened in me and I feel one with the universe. Through my art I find focus and understanding of new concepts by seeing the fragments as a whole.

The text is the medium It can appear as a word, an image, a gesture or a sound. My text is the appearance of my existence.  

My biography comes into the frame of the work, as a substance and as a way to celebrate life and facing its challenges. 

The work of art Is my way to give and find meaning, to appreciate life and except death.

A.Vi* – Art Virus In its way to impact life – the work of Art should act as a Virus : in every possible space or time.

Koizora, Spring 2015



Noelle Mason, USANoelle wilson


Decision Altitude: Incident Report uses the medium of photography in an attempt to capture an image of the physical space and compression of time between throwing yourself out of the door of an aircraft and saving your own life.  In this buffer zone between earth and sky the view of earth from above is anything but the sterile experience of cartographic representation, it is instead an incomprehensible combination of aerodynamics and adrenaline. Incident Report uses a lens-less pin-hole camera which does not refract light but instead allows the image to imprint itself directly onto a piece of film over a period of three seconds hereby capturing 500-feet of free-fall at speeds exceeding 150 miles per hour. The process of taking these images includes a pinhole camera affixed to a specially designed helmet and shutter release.  I wear this contraption on my head the entire duration of exit, freefall, canopy flight and landing.  I cannot see what the camera sees so the images are composed with a great degree of chance.  Coordinating our exits, my subject(s) and I jump from 13,500 feet in the air.  This altitude provides me with one minute of freefall in which to compose and take the photograph.  My subject and I must then match vertical fall rates, move into close proximity with one another then as I release the shutter hold as still as possible for between 500 and 1000 feet (3 – 6 seconds.)   Most of the images generated by this process provide little or no recognizable information but the ones that succeed at capturing this absurd performance become un-refracted indexical marks of a human being falling through space and time recorded in photosensitive gelatin.  The photographic negatives are then used to make photogravures. I was attracted to this printing process because of it’s historical significance and the highly physical image that is produced.   
Each image is then paired with text from the United States Parachute Association archive of “Incident Reports” which are the official reports from people who have died while skydiving.  The reports that have been selected are of personal significance to me either because of the type of malfunction or because of the person or people involved. 


Dana Boll, NYC, USA


How can we fly without leaving ground?  Commit to something beyond ourselves? That moment of acceleration on the runway, cleared for takeoff, no turning back, a complete commitment to speed, elevation…and lift-off.  What does it take to soar, to capture that feeling in the body, and transmit it mid-story?
I am passionate about storytelling through the integration of text and movement. My artistic practice attempts to use movement and dance to give voice to the unspeakable parts of a story – whether in devastation, boundless joy, or apathy. 
The work I am currently creating, My Toothbrush Killed an Albatross is an environmental dance-theatre musical about how a transatlantic flight changes a man’s life.  My research for the work includes ocean-polluting plastics, albatross legends, weather patterns, and the pursuit of flight.  The work will depict the experience of flight on several levels: in a passenger aircraft, with a dancer (and/or puppet) as an albatross bird-spirit, and an ensemble musical dreamscape where the human chorus all “take flight.”  Topics of my past dance-theatre work and research have included the experience of WWII refugees, addiction’s effect on families, square dancing, and swordfighting.


Melaina Todd, BC, Canada
melaina todd


Melaina Todd is an artist whose practice involves drawing, painting, collage, murals, editioned prints, monotypes, performance, mail art, design, sculptural print and GIF's. Her goal is to activate a picture plane by questioning the “original” image and considering the many ways it can be reproduced. She is an educator at Kamloops Art Gallery, teaching printmaking and other mediums. Melaina is an active member of the Kamloops Printmakers Society in Kamloops BC and a BFA graduate from Thompson Rivers University in 2011.
She is interested in the purely cathartic actions of drawing and printmaking. Gaining a finer understanding of her subjects is discovered during the two-dimensional processes she uses. A common theme of her drawings and prints is the natural world and the dilemmas of modern existence. Melaina's goal is to create work that is easily disseminated into multifaceted mainstream culture and allowed to mutate/develop through the mediums of time, history, social engagement and media. She engages viewers by displaying her process (such as the carved blocks of woodcuts) and encourages learning and interrogation. She believes the viewer should be subjected to the process of an art work, and also learn how to decode their own experience in a world full of images that seemingly appear from thin air.



Biophilia Spring 2015

Marynes Avila



Marynes Avila, Australia
The Public Narratives of Multiples: A Language of Transcendence

Marynes Avila is an Argentinean born Melbourne artist who implements the use of multiples as “data connectors” by investigating the uniqueness of each unit and its interrelationship with the group. Involving overwhelming quantities of a single familiar object, generating collaboration and interaction, Avila explores the resonance of multiples by utilizing them as tools of public intervention.
Avila’s practice is multidisciplinary, her repertoire gravitating between labor intense site-specific installations, sculpture, meticulous drawing, digital photography and film.                            
From topics as varied as cells to mass production, the artist investigates the public narratives of multiples as a reflection of the personal and the universal, the profound and the abject, chaos and order. Redefining the object, its purpose and symbolism, Marynes Avila’s practice is informed by Science and Nature, particularly Biology and Neuroscience, Carl Jung's concept of the Collective Unconscious and Depth Psychology. Recently the artist has produced a new body of work that includes microscopic digital photography of organic material and familiar objects. The magnified images reveal a world of multiplicity invisible to the naked eye.


Julya Hajnoczky, Calgary



The extraordinary details of the natural world never fail to amaze me. The quiet work of plants, animals and insects, so easily ignored by humans, is what interests me the most, and what I constantly return to for inspiration. Much of my work is a sort of meditation on the interactions between people and nature, on the ways in which we attempt to control and codify nature, yet hold ourselves as somehow separate. My pieces attempt to frame the work of plants and animals in terms that are easier for humans to understand, and potentially empathize or identify with. I hope to inspire a sense of wonder or fascination, and encourage the viewer to consider the energy and resources that go into the constant cycle of building and decay in complex environments and ecosystems.


Michelle wilson


Michelle Wilson, Canada

‘Becoming animal’ is a common idiom in contemporary discussions of human-animal and nonhuman-animal relationships, but are we not already, and always have been animal? I have come to understand the term as describing a state of attentiveness to our animality. In this state we become concatenated, recognizing the light of personhood in the eyes of another animal looking back, acknowledging that singularity is not synonymous with humanity.
The creatures I create are born out of living body-to-body, heart-to-heart, with my nonhuman companions, past and present. Our fleshy and vulnerable undersides exposed to one another, eyes asking, “Can you feel me?” I see a material; plasticine, clay, wax, soft downy roving and they combine with my thoughts and fears, the books I’ve read, and my dog Scooter’s gestures, his looks that tug on my insides. The outcome of my making is intuitive, but in no way mindless, and the affective power of these creatures remains beyond the grasp of my words, the means of my rational language. The deerhounds and fetuses I generate are both internal and external creatures, living and dead, of us and yet distressingly foreign. We want to pull them into us to comfort, but are uncertain of their diseased flesh. They are art objects and affective interlocutors appealing to us with their gaze.


Julya Hajnoczky, Canada

Our relationship with the natural world is fraught. Humans are part of nature, but in many ways we behave as though we were somehow above it. It is this contradiction that I am interested in exploring in my work – the conflicted territory between my awe and wonder at the fascinating ecosystems that surround me, and our ultimately (self-)destructive human impulse to collect, codify, classify and control our environment.
An intimate connection to wilderness and nature has long been inextricably linked to popular definitions of Canadianness. My own experiences have been no exception, having spent much of my life enjoying the wilds. My work is informed by these experiences, and by popular Canadian cultural references. The tradition of Cabinets of Curiosities, those theatrical natural history installations, is another strong influence. In attempting to convey my fascination with even, or especially, the tiniest features of the natural world, I’ve adopted a multi-disciplinary practice. A camera-less version of historical photographic processes allows me to use pressed plants, feathers and other collected specimens in place of photographic negatives, my enlarger standing in for a microscope while the metal and glass photographic plates produced let me share the exquisite details of the barbs of a feather or the veins of a leaf. Meanwhile, drawing on my multicultural heritage (another oh-so Canadian identifier), I use Hungarian embroidery skills learned as a child to imagine strange and impossible, yet still beautiful, hybrid Canadian creatures. For me these creatures serve as a reminder of the interconnectedness of all beings in an ecosystem, but also evoke the danger of human over-involvement in directing the fate of the natural world, while playing on popular representations of Canadian culture, including ideas of multiculturalism. Finally, my intricate paper sculptures are another slow and meticulous mode of making that allows me to meditate on subject matter drawn from nature. The material link between the paper and the trees from which is it made is important, as is the scale of the work: natural resources are precious, and I strive to keep my footprint small. Creating tiny, delicate, fragile representations of the animals and plants that are important to me hopefully conveys my sense of the preciousness and value of the living world surrounding us.

nicole edmond



Nicole Edmond, Canada

“Number of microbes per square centimeter of human skin: upward of 100,000” Invisible Kingdom by Idan Ben-Barak

In my practice, I am fascinated with the world of microbial life which is invisible to the naked eye. This curiosity with the invisible is similar to the scientists and artists exploring how things worked in the 1500’s, with theatre painting and drawings of the dead. They too used observations to draw images of anatomies and these drawings to this day are used in human anatomy to education on things that can’t always be seen to the naked eye. My prints work in a similar fashion to these theatre paintings. The viewers are peering into the small world of microbial life, something that is a mystery to most people. In this way this imagery is a reflection of my own curiosity with microbial life and the pursuit of knowledge. According to quote above by Idan Ben-Barak, 100,000 microbes and more are on our skin, this number is exactly why I am so fascinated with cellular life. The fact that there are more than 100,000 microbes on a square centimeter of human skin without anyone entirely being conscious about it is both terrifying and exhilarating.




Carol Howard Donati, Canada

A part of me, otherwise unspoken, becomes articulate while creating with my hands. I draw from inner expression, my background as an anthropologist, my appreciation of traditions of women’s work and design ideas taken from everyday life.  Referencing the familiar and the virtual hiddenness of things we take for granted is the starting point for my examination of broader issues of human concern such as questions of personhood, health and wellbeing, environmental sustainability, and global food security. I am drawn to natural fabrics, typically working with cotton, linen or silk, enhancing these with various layers of texture using dyes, paint, appliqué and stitch.
I frequently incorporate found objects and domestic materials in my work, juxtaposing ubiquitous household disposables with natural forms and colours as a way to provoke awareness. As an artist, my virtual sketchbook is nature photography. I live near the Petrie Island Wetlands and find taking photos there a meditative way to access creative thinking. I am always eager to expand my knowledge and experience of the natural world as a way to open to my senses and connect with inspiration.


Natasha Avila, Australia

My work explores the characteristics of the reflected image within the context of the wearable object. Utilizing reflective surfaces, the aim of the work is to produce spatial rediscoveries by deconstructing, transforming and emphasizing details. The work morphs depending on its surroundings and the wearer’s contact with it. The amalgamation of shiny, reflective mirror surfaces and the impermanent nature of the reflected surrounding environment transmit ever-changing visual statements. Characterized by the elegant simplicity of geometric forms, vertical and horizontal planes and interior and exterior spaces, my work articulates a sense of order and balance. Under close inspection, each piece provides an interstitial space where reflection becomes a reversal of the observer and the object - a vehicle for the projection of the self. In addition, my work currently explores textures in the surrounding environment.


Below Zero Winter 2015



Charlotte Smith, England

I like creating things that are Interactive and Site Specific. (And preferably raise a smile)



  Siena Baldi, USA

Trying to make sense out of irrational occurrences compels me to draw lines and make connections. Either drawn, sliced out of wood, or sewn into fabric, lines represent direction and reassurance. This desire to impose order on chaos recurs in my artwork. I am interested in the overlap of orderly, mathematical forms with organic, abnormal forms.  Methodically tracing an idea or object to create a new, more abstract form emphasizes certain formal qualities. As the tracing continues, the form evolves into a seemingly arbitrary assortment of lines. This generative approach strips the original meaning and creates a shell that can be filled in with new meaning, a new system of order.

When faced with an infinite expanse, drawing constellations suits our desire to tame the sublime. My connections and diagrams are just as valid as anything else. However, at a certain point, my eagerness to impose order becomes futile and my process consumes itself as it cycles into chaotic inscrutability.




Nicole Valentine Rimmer, BC, Canada

An attraction to organic forms is what shapes my style, while nature is what inspires and motivates me. Elements of my work often come from a specific place, moment in time, or season that moves me to create something from it. Often a color palette jumps out from a winter landscape or lush spring forest bringing with it a shape or form that I can create out of glass or metal.

My work often stretches the limits between glass and metal. Glass can be considered a super-cooled liquid while metal is a solid. Combining both elements can often create an alchemy that moves the piece to another time or place. While glass can be fragile it can also be transformed into a solid structure that can last decades or generations. Metal, being strong and supportive, can also flow and shape itself into something completely different from its original form.

I have always been particularly drawn to snow, frozen lakes, storms and all that they bring. They take me to a childlike place inside myself where a sense of awe exists. A stark winter landscape can make one feel alone – or surrounded by nature and all its elements. Falling snow takes me to a magical place deep inside where unique and different creations come from.


Geophilia Fall 2014



Anna Carr Kodama, USA

.  The word's new but I know the feeling. A few years ago, I couldn’t look on life, so I turned to the earth itself.  It felt right to pull apart an old stone wall, to haul the stones and lay them out in an ancient pattern with a compass and string. It felt right to walk the path I’d made, twisting round and round, but always ending up in the center of things, always coming out. A man repairing the roof asked, What’re you doin back there in the woods? I showed him this sea of stones. Took his breath away.  He got started on the path and couldn’t get over how lost it made him feel and then, when he made it to the middle,  how found.  The next day , he brought a stone to add.  Then others came, friends and strangers --- more stones, more stories, more footsteps.

            Many nights now, I sleep in the labyrinth. Though it's not a living thing, it’s not exactly nonliving either. These stones brought me back to life. They are witness to the mystery of creation---earth’s own big bang  and our human small ones…. all of our making and being.

final dance



Gabrielle Giordano, USA
Final Dance

universal energy connecting all living things
opening up your senses to discover the natural rhythms of the universe
molecularly inter-woven into the environment
being moved
floating upon qi
we exist

Creation is an inseparable part of my nature. I believe art accesses our inner most places and helps one discover its true nature. It is an unfiltered response to our existence to our gender, culture, class, society, geography, and sexuality. All of these forces push and pull us to develop ourselves further. A visceral understanding of human experience creates sharing. The human body is a vessel for communication; the poetry of the body is understood as emotion. Dance, movement, and gestures express our humanity using archetypal images connecting all people and inviting them into the work. Expanding your possibilities of dynamic through using imagination and imagery to increase understanding of body and mind. Art is a gateway to unanswerable questions. It helps to see our deeper
connection with the rest of the universe. We dance and life is our subject.


  Katherine Valkanas, Canada

In attaining my masters certification in Mikao Usui Reiki I have developed a deeper understanding of how healing the metaphysical body also positively affects the physical body. Reiki is a bioelectromagnetic-based therapy that affects the surrounding and inner body. It focuses on balancing the electromagnetic fields in the body to bring individuals to a tranquil state. This type of healing therapy has inspired the creation of my lithographs, specifically the series of organ structures. These sculptural prints represent the seven main chakras, which are signified through the chosen colours and crystal forms for each organ. Throughout my time working in print media I have been drawn to creating work that is inspired by my personal spiritual practice. From graining the stone to the final stages of lithography printing and paper assemblage, these series of repetitive actions act as their own mantra. Sculptural works such as Unstruck focus on the exploration of crystal formations through texture, shape and colouration. These works reflect my curiosity for understanding the origin, environment, elemental formula and metaphysical properties of crystals. Through exploring a variety of art mediums I strive to represent both the physical, metaphysical and healing qualities of crystals.

Alyson O'Malley, New Zealand


Up in the Air Somewhere, Flipping White Pages with out Poems
2013, onopordum acanthium

My practice is based on a formal exploration of materiality as metaphor. The idea of materiality as a metaphor contributes a renewed interest between the object and the spectator in the question of being, transcendence, and the social by way of its physicality. A recurring theme throughout my practice is the focus on the romantic unity and underlying tension between humans and nature. Temporal installations underline the fragility of nature in man’s world, yet appreciates the beauty of organic objects. Zen is a departure point throughout my research, as it resonates with the use of organic forms in contrast to the artificial. Poetic gestures allow a moment to be mediated by a physical directness with an interactive event. Modern industrial material in juxtaposition with organic form offer a threshold for transformation, surpassing everyday identity to become a bare material presence in itself. Playing with permanence versus impermanence explores this idea of a fleeting moment. Cut-continuance articulates the experience of this passage of time, the moment of the in-between, where one becomes aware of the pause between exhalation and inhalation. The contrast of
movement and stillness, impermanence and permanence, flow and cut-continuance speaks of the space as infinite.

Sarah Gillett, England
I think I am an Ominous Decoration, 2014, Tapstry, 300mm x 170mm




I am a 'draw-er', collecting stories from folklore, history and science to create new work that sites our own lives within the epic narratives of earth, sea and sky. My influences include The Pennines (mountain range in the North of England), 18th Century engravers, dictionaries and radio drama and my multidisciplinary practice reflects these interests in text, image, sound, film and performance.
From starting points of imagination, memory and mythology my work examines our expectations of narrative, through a breadcrumb trail of objects, actions and landscapes that uncover the symbolic power of stories in society, politics and communities. From the Aboriginal Dreamtime works to standing stones such as Stonehenge and the statues of Easter Island, from the disasters of Pompeii (natural) and Hiroshima (man-made), our relationship to land, its geology and cultural / mineral value results in rich and complex stories. As my work starts with physical objects including rocks, fossils and corals, the material process of making-by-hand is very important, and as a consequence I make lithographs on stone, etchings on copper, monoprints using textured wallpapers. I record sound outside or in a natural space rather than in a studio, as I want to hear the air.
My current body of work focuses around the idea of ‘visitations’ – events that are ‘visited’ upon us beyond our control, and the physical / invisible after effects. In 1954 a meteorite crashed through the ceiling of Mrs. Ann Hodges’ home in Alabama and though she sustained only minor injuries her life was changed forever. Taking the meteorite as a signifier for ‘the end’ I am playing out different stories to present a set of unexpected outcomes. The opportunity to take part in the Geophilia residency fills me with excitement - to experience an epic landscape’s geology and react to it directly is a unique chance to develop my artistic practice.





Elizabeth Zvonar, Canada

I grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, the bedrock of which is predominately Amethyst. It was a strange and beautiful place to begin and sympathetic to creative youth. The Coast Mountains surrounding my home today in Vancouver are largely composed of Granite. In 2008, I spent a very transformative moment at the Banff Centre, the area composed largely of Limestone. I’m interested in geology and how it affects humans emotionally and creatively. Admittedly, I am an armchair enthusiast. I would love the opportunity to explore and work alongside seriously engaged geophiles who are open and willing to share their knowledge. In exchange, I can offer my novice insights and enthusiastic engagement.

My practice incorporates sculpture and collage while citing a diverse range of references from popular culture to historical events. Using humor and seduction made slightly strange as tools that draw a viewer in for closer contemplation, my work employs metaphor as a form of abstraction and as a way to talk about metaphysics through a feminine perspective. I am interested in using my work as a catalyst for thinking in a social and cultural climate where indifference has become de rigueur.


Biophilia Fall 2014




Regan Rosburg, USA
Detail of The Nursery paint,resin, natural materials

I aspire to re-establish intimacy with our inherent connection to the wildness of nature, while tapping into the frightening reality of a deteriorating, overly strained world. I seek to poignantly illustrate the injurious consequences ecological decline, but I do this by deeply rooting my artistic sensibility in an ecosystem’s ability to dominate any obstacle, to equalize what is not in balance.  My artwork is soaked in reverence, awe, and threat.  Thus, I ride a razor’s edge of harsh environmental concerns and spiritual musings, both of which are deeply based in my scientific and ecological research. 

            My materials of resin, detritus, organic remnants, plastic, sugar, gelatin, paint, and time-lapse photography address this subject through a lens of permanence/impermanence.  Most notably, I have developed a unique, complicated process of creating three-dimensional “sculptural paintings” out of objects, painted images, and resin.  One can see into each piece as if peering into a deep pool of water. Each piece can take a month to complete.  


e coli


Darya Warner, USA
Portrait of Escherichia Coli
, 18” by 24"

My work revolves around the complexity of nature and global environmental consciousness. Through bio-processing and collaboration with living organisms (mycelium, bioluminescent algae, glowing E.Coli and other living matter) combined with usage of modern technologies (CNC machines) I create interactive installations, visual displays, and sculptures to engage the viewer into becoming more aware of the world around us and push to rethink their place as a  ‘sapiens’ part of Earth’s complex. 
My previous works include “Tribute to Edison “ - an interactive installation consisting of suspended lightbulbs filled with bioluminescent algae (founded in warm coastal waters) attached to the enlarged laser cutouts of the microscopic images of the algae as a single cell. The viewer is encouraged to touch the bulbs so the algae will react by producing the glow. The idea of biological control and substituting non-living material with living organisms  (ex. coal production for generation electricity) is replayed in this artwork.
One of my latest works is “ The Shape of Things to Come,” a set of living and growing mycelium sculptures. By manipulating the substrate necessary for mycelium (Reishi) to reproduce itself, my vision came alive as “newborns" (I used a mold of a baby doll head to establish the connection), which were inoculated with mushrooms spores. With the help of custom made incubators the mycelium (and other unexpected “neighbors") had spread taking over the shape of the sculpture. The process of growth is my driving force.

chantel dupas



Chantal Dupas, Canada

My work is rooted in a reflective interest in the cyclical and fragile nature of life. Through my studio practice and research, I have gravitated towards themes such as consumption, death and transformation in various capacities. Often, inspiration for bodies of work begins with analyses of certain experiences within natural environments, whether intentional or coincidental. I am motivated by the discovery of natural occurrences new to me and bring this sense of wonder and awe towards the mysteries of life into the studio, where I inevitably begin to question my affinities with and aversions to the world around us. My work has responded to phenomena in places ranging from the Arctic Ocean to the foothills of Connecticut and to my own back yard. My most recent ventures have been delving into the world of botany, which stemmed from a residency at Riding Mountain National Park. Embracing my compulsion towards fact-based research and organization/categorization, I question whether these systems confront fears of mortality and perhaps are ways we deal with and control time. At the core of my practice, I am searching for experiences that remind me that I am within the natural systems I seek to gather information from.



Kristi Beisecker,USA
, Kirlian Photography

In the Spring of 2012 I took a class in Alternative Photography as part of my degree in Graphic and Interactive Design. I am also into spirituality and as part of this interest I discovered Kirlian Photography or as I like to term it - Electrography. Kirlian Photography is made using high voltage electricity to expose objects on photo sensitive paper. In the realm of spirituality this photo process is said to capture the life force energy of organic materials, thus using it as a scientific process. Those who use the process look at it in a scientific mind frame and just photograph one object. Seeing its' potential as an art form, I took the process and reinvigorated it to be compatible with traditional darkroom processing. As this process was originally developed to use Polaroid film - which is expensive now - my college only had darkroom processing so I used the materials that were available to me. In the creation process, I applied my design skills of composition, relationships to elements on the page and how to arrange objects on a page where the energy flowed through the design. To me these photographs aren't just photograms but a cultivation of my entire knowledge as an artist.


jackie dorage



Jackie Dorage, USA
K-Pg Boundary Oil on Canvas 30 x 30 inch

My work combines factual substance and scientific research with creative narratives to enlighten viewers and emotionally mimic the thrill of scientific discovery. Through reading journals, articles, and books, and partnering with scientists and conservationists, I weave together a story that visually represents the research while allowing the mystery of the unknown to persist. Accompanying each piece is a short statement or quote, meant to give the audience insight into the research behind the work, allowing the viewer to feel a sense of discovery and knowledge gaining from a piece of art.
Everything we witness—a flock of birds or a beetle on a leaf—has a deeper, sometimes unseen function that is interconnected with the environment around it. Whether I'm exploring the increasing role of marine “pollutogens” spread by cats or the fantastical qualities of the K-Pg boundary acting as a bookmark in Earths geological history, my main goal is illustrating the complex, living realities and mysteries of our natural world.
Through combining hard science with fantastical art, I hope to send my viewers on a journey mimicking the arch and thrill of research and learning—intrigue, questioning, investigation, and, finally, discovery.


Biophilia July 2014





Susan Rochester, USA
The foolishness of the chase ached her heart
, 20 x 16 inches, Archival pigment print

My work examines the borders existing between natural and artificial habitats. I am interested in the
 trails humans and animals carve out and follow as they travel through their respective environments. Invisible boundaries dictate how comfortable beings are as their paths of travel intersect routes created by others. Human development denies and obliterates natural trails and habitats, yet animals continue to prevail in the face of the destruction of ecosystems. I am also fascinated and baffled by the human response to the natural world. The eradication of predators (to prevent real and/or imagined threats) leads to an overabundance of prey animals, which are then deemed as nuisances. Solutions range from repellent sprays to issuing suburban hunting licenses--yet rarely is there a careful consideration of what could happen if we just let things be. In my most recent series Trespasses, I explore what might occur if human-animal boundaries were more fluid, even permeable. Animals seem more adaptable to human encroachment than humans are to animal presence. But what if humans were equally adaptable? What if more doors and windows were left open? How would animals adapt, and what would happen to the human environment?
I was granted generous access to the natural history collections of the Douglas County Museum of Cultural and Natural History for this project. The museum holds over 1,000 freeze-dried specimens of local fauna. The preservation process retains the skeletal structure of the animals, and there is a resulting life-like quality to many of them that is uncanny. My inspiration for the resulting images comes from the formalism of still life traditions, especially the combination of the living (or lifelike) with the dead, and the concept of memento mori. I find additional inspiration in the darker aspects of folk tales and stories in which animals are anthropomorphized.


Helga Jakobson, Canada



Flayed Frankenstein, Plasticized Hosta Leaves, Thread, Plant Matter, 2014

My work often incorporates detritus from my immediate atmosphere. Whether natural components of the Manitoba landscape or relics from my great grandparents’ homestead. I spend my time photographing and exploring the rural landscapes of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Iceland and elsewhere for inspiration. My travels have lead me to many derelict and abandoned buildings. Through visiting these places I feel that I have been able to gain a further understanding of spirituality and philosophy. I strive to focus on my personal experience as a springboard for exploration into ideas outside of my limited understanding. Through this process, I revel in attempting to create objects which quantify my own experiences. In my inevitable failure to do so, I feel as though I am able to express the space between ourselves and the outside world. Translating my inner landscape becomes an ambiguous representation of interiors which are occupied by all of us. Because of the specificity of my intent, the objects that I create are imbued with an aura of which I hope the viewer can explore and potentially find personal resonance with.
Currently, I am exploring the role of the feminine within science while endeavoring to express a less gendered perspective in understanding biology, inorganic/organic life, and evolution. My practice focuses on a hands-on approach to understanding scientific process as an access point into philosophical ideologies.




Natalie Draz, Canada

Natalie Draz is an artist working across multiple disciplines of printmaking, installation and fibres to create environments of expereintial mapmaking, storytelling and transformation of bodies. Investigating the structures of books, maps and anatomical studies as a source of alternative documentation and storytelling, Natalie creates works transgress the boundaries of book and body. Accessed through visual narrative strategies of pop-up books, engaging installations, and intimate moments of discovery and transformation through personal micro-narratives and sketches. Instead, her sculptural works touch upon installations; experiential environments; fragmentary visual texts to be pieced together by each individual viewer. 

Biophilia August 2014




Laura Grossett, USA
A Thin Barier, hand manipulated inkjet print on mylar, graphite. 11x8.5", 2013

I am attracted to ideas of preservation, absence and what it means to try and hold on to a thing or an idea as it slips away. This line of thought often leads me to thinking about endangered species and deforestation. In a very general sense, my work reflects an observation of the natural world.  I find forms and patterns that I respond to and that is where I begin. I often draw from specimens.  I used to work in a specimen collection library where I cataloged bird skins. I still find it peculiar to be in the presence of one of these static mimicries.  The feeling is especially poignant the individual is from an extinct or endangered species. Did did we assist in their depopulation in this one small way?  Maybe it will be in the interest of the greater good, sometimes the scientific data those skins provide help us manage current wildlife populations more effectively.  Well, we were able to save at least one.... sort of.  But, irony aside, it is a beautiful sort of honor- this preservation of a life.  When I worked in the collection room we spent time carefully organizing, labeling and tending to the bird mummies.  In some ways it was reminiscent of human burial traditions where the body is embalmed after death (although, in the case of bird skins, they were usually killed for the sole purpose of scientific study).  For awhile I made little bird skins out of metal and plastic: tiny forms that would last forever- even longer than the century-old specimens that inspired them.  After this I started another series where I cut similar shapes from sheet metal and embossed them into paper using an etching press.  To me these were symbolic of voids- they were the literal impressions left behind after death.  


Sarah fagan



Sarah Fagan, USA
Sustain, acrylic on paper, 21" x 16"

In a blend of painterly strokes and trompe l'oeil, I paint everyday objects in the medium of acrylic on panel. Like the vanitas painters of the Dutch Baroque, quotidian objects become symbols for something more. I offer not solely a reflection on mortality, but human psychology. Turning my back on the point of view typically employed by still life painters, I present my subjects from a direct aerial perspective, sans environment. The resulting visual immediacy forces confrontation between object and viewer. Accordingly, I consider the sensual and visual, as well as cerebral, impacts the chosen objects may deliver. I choose objects with a visceral draw: objects meant to be touched or used. As someone with synesthesia, wherein senses cross, I find this tactile impetus as natural for me as it is meaningful to the viewer. The concept of the hand is of import. Craftsmen tools, utensils, writing implements, and found natural objects engage the hand and, and thus the body, through the eye. These are "active" objects. As a foil to active objects is the "empty" object: the object of potential. Empty articles of clothing, blank sheets of paper, and smooth stones are vessels into which viewers may project their own emotions, tensions, completions, and gut reactions. These projections are the impetus of my work. The viewer takes on an active role not only by bringing her own connotations, memories, and histories to the objects themselves, but by unconsciously delving into her individual psychology when imagining narrative or meaning in composition. By visually grouping, pairing, and categorizing objects, I use the gesture of science without the technicality. I use a language that invites meaning without explanation. I orchestrate compositions with the recognition that symmetry and aestheticism invite contemplation. These qualities both draw in the eye and, in their artifice, allow the viewer to enter a world beyond the object. By deliberately  pairing objects with one another, cropped landscapes, and fields of color, the concept of narrative and meaning emerge, even though meaning itself may be veiled. What is of import is not the meaning I impose, but the need for the collective consciousness to find meaning in pattern, to see didacticism in arrangements. Likewise, it is not the unknown narrative that matters, but the human mind's necessity to make one. I place this onus on the viewer, as the most profound meanings come from within. Sartre famously explained this need with the phrase "existence precedes essence." As an artist, I search for pattern and meaning in the natural world, or study the framework of systems, charts, and graphs created by man. As various minds arrange systems and graft meaning on objects, interpretations are infinite.



Sophie Lindsey, England
Grass Work, 2013

As my work stems from observations, I predominantly make work about the everyday and art itself. However, I have a keen interest in the natural environment and enjoyed studying physical geography in education. This led me to partake in a placement in the Geology department at the University of Brighton. While I was able to create work throughout this, the main focus of my placement was comparing the similarities between art and geology. This led to Cross-Curricular: Art and Geology, a project which introduced geological samples into an art environment and land art into a geology lecture. However, as this placement was within a teaching framework the work was heavily informed by the way in which both disciplines were taught.
I am particularly interested in our relationship as humans to the natural world, and how we have progressed far beyond our natural state. Human manipulation of the environment is something I have briefly explored on my previous placement, and I am interested to see whether this is such a strong feature in  Canada, as it is very prevalent in UK.In considering these aspects combined with the approach I take in my practice, I anticipate creating something intervention based, potentially highlighting the bizarre conventions with have applied to life as a way to distance ourselves from the environment. However, the experience of Biophilia will undoubtedly shape what I make during and after the residency, and this may cause me to produce something I am unable to anticipate.

AiR Currents August 2014




Rahni Allan, Tazmania
Arsetronaught Training Handbook

For as long as we have been looking up we have also looked within. My practice employs perhaps the most influential human narrative; the love story in order to resonate the complex and emotive forces inherent in science and discovery with the individual. I am inspired by quantum physics and the existential and scientific conundrums that can deduce macrocosmic conundrums to tangible microcosmic materials present in everyday reality.
My practice is inspired to find a moment of synthesis between the apparent extremities pertaining to self and universe, by pitting myself and my love against scientific conundrums such as gravity, space, time and a demonstrable objective resolution. Gravity has throughout human history been a powerful metaphor for freedom, to break free of gravity has been for generations, a symbolic gesture embroiled with hope, wonder and peace. My practice offers an opportunity to look up and within to experience moments like the thousands of explorers, scientists, philosophers and artists throughout history have looked to the skies for answers. I too am overcome with the awe and wonder of living in a time in human history in which complex and impossible notions traditionally belonging toscience can be explained via artful media.


Elena Thomas, USA



Consideration, 2014

Art is an experience. It can wrap you up in another world or show you something about your own that you never knew. Since I was young, art has been equal parts captivating and freeing. Initially, art was an emotional release for me. It was spontaneous and compulsive. And in many ways it still is, but instead of rushing to the nearest canvas, now I write or sketch whatever image or idea has invaded my mind and refuses to leave. Certain things continue to fascinate me or pull at me, and demand to be expressed: With an unending interest in the way that light functions, I fill my camera with pictures of shadows and reflections. Wishing that people could see or understand certain truths, my pieces are an attempt to share things that may be difficult or unavailable to them, like just how many children get cancer, or how, even if they survive, like me, they could still face a number of medical issues. Exploring the edges of art and function, but always leaning more toward art, I have created lights, tables, chairs, and climbable sculptures. Spatial consideration, think about how a piece interacts with
the space in which it is placed, and how the viewer fits in with the piece and the space, is my most recent obsession, which played a part in creating two climbable sculptures, and an art piece installed over a staircase so that people experience it as they walk up or down. I want to change the notions held by the viewer of what their relationship is to the space and to the piece, and challenge the way that the audience sees the relationship between the space and the piece.




Cara Cole, Canada
Every Living Thing

I am interested in the impact of time on both earthbound and celestial bodies.  Time devastates flesh and rapidly consumes it. So, we humans and beasts have a finite arc of time--a brief interval between birth and death--in contrast to the relative eternity of the cosmos.
In performing dissections on dead beasts for this series, in peering intently at their viscera,  I am struck by the grace and mystery inherent in the folds of brilliantly hued flesh, and fur and bone. This internal landscape is one of fearsome poetry. It echoes the immense and distant universe, a luminous arc of fur in darkness resembles a  solar flare. Folds of flesh  glow and stream like remote star fields.
I must admit I do not observe this phenomena neutrally. I wish I could do more then simply dissect and expose the interior space, that secret rich place where memory and desire--a life--dwelled. I examine these interiors and wish I could perform my own miracles upon the flesh. I wish I could  reverse the tide of time and bring the dead back to life: to make blood rush into the body instead of out, to inflate collapsed lungs with fresh breath, to seal gaping wounds neat and invisible like they were never there at all.