By Danielle Kalamaras
Delicate glass floral sculptures peer through the concrete crevasses of NYC's East Harlem neighborhood. Placing the glistening glass within the underbelly of a thriving city creates an opposition between an idealistic world of beauty and the unsightly workings of a growing metropolis.
Artist Jamie Marie Rose Grove's dichotomous site-specific sculptures critique the destruction of ecological tranquility through urban sprawl. The artist states, "The way that we demolish entire ecosystems in the name of progress is a double edged sword. We have accomplished great things architecturally, but at what cost? By distancing ourselves from nature, what damage are we doing to ourselves, not to mention the planet? ... I'm interested in representing the ghost of what we lose by living in one of the cultural centers of the world."
Grove's work is featured in the online exhibition Un-Natural Nature, curated by SciArt Center's Arts Program coordinator Danielle Kalamaras. Read on for an interview with the artist that expounds on her scientific inspirations, what she thinks is so "Un-Natural" about nature today, and what "SciArt" means in regards to her work.
DK: What most inspires you about the natural-and artificial-world?
JG: I am most inspired by the way in which nature always finds a way to not only survive, but to thrive, in the most unlikely of places. When I see bursts of grass between cracks in the concrete in the middle of the city, I am in awe. No matter how much we seemingly separate ourselves from the natural world, it is always there- nature was here first; it is the the foundation of which we build our urban landscapes, and it will be here long after we are gone.
What is so 'Un-Natural' about nature today?
The most 'un-natural' part of nature today is the fact that we as people separate ourselves from it. We construct buildings and cities and feel as if we must 'go out' to find nature- when, in fact, we are a part of that same natural world. The only separation that exists is a fragile one at best, and as soon as a 'natural disaster' occurs, we are reminded of the fact that nature is not an outlying source that we control, but rather the structure on which we build our entire existence.
What does "SciArt" mean to you?
Science and Art have always been two sides of the same coin, in my opinion. As an artist who works primarily with glass, the technical aspect of creating work is something that is never far from my mind. Glass making involves knowing a great deal of math, chemistry, and physics in order to truly understand the material and to be able to manipulate it in a purposeful way. So, in my mind, SciArt is a formal reiteration of what I have always practiced. It is a physical organization that brings together the creative and the analytical.
Visit the artist's website to learn more about her artwork.
Click here to view the online exhibition Un-Natural Nature curated by Danielle Kalamaras which features the artwork of 30 SciArt Center Members.