January 19 to March 4, 2017

Reception: Friday 20 January, 2017, 5-8pm


Mud and acrylic sheet

Nicole Clouston

Variants, a series of related sculptures, feature acrylic prisms that contain mud harvested from Lake Ontario along with nutrients that encourage microbial growth – cellulose, sulphur, and calcium carbonate. When exposed to sunlight, the microbial life already present – including bacteria, moulds and yeasts – begin to flourish, creating vibrantly coloured bands throughout the sculpture. Altering the pH, salinity, abundance of nutrients and presence of heavy metals in the mud has created an environment where certain microbes will out-compete others for resources within the coloumn. These alterations, which often occur in the environment due to human contamination, will influence which microbes thrive and which die. These shifts are visible in the tones on the surface of the sculptures. Although the microbial life growing in the sculpture are not directly from our bodies, they call attention to the microbes that are everywhere around, on, and in us. In an age where we continue to feel disconnected from our environment, acknowledging the enmeshed connection made by microbes between our bodies and environment could help us come to a new understanding of ourselves as part of a larger system.