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My work explores humankind’s complicated relationship with the natural world, bringing attention to the sometimes heedless or reckless interactions between humans and insects or nature, and broader issues of a viewer’s role in the environment. Within this larger theme, my subjects are human figures and insects, separated visually, but related by ideology. These humans are using their smartphones (their bodies are slouching, necks bent awkwardly), but where their dead-looking eyes would be, are a species of fungi called cordyceps. The cordyceps fungus doesn’t infect humans in real life but is parasitic on insects. The fungus attacks and invades the host, much like the way smartphones invade every aspect of our lives and body. Conversely, the insects in this series are “squished”--a common action performed by us humans-- but painted large-scale in intricate detail to confront the viewer with a viscerally offensive image yet intriguing quality of beauty. My work process is to gather photographic imagery, whether from the internet or my own hand (for the insects, I squash and photograph myself), and paint the image using gouache for the human figures or watercolor for the squished insects. I’ve chosen to leave the background white; it conveys the cleanliness that as a culture, we wish nature had. I’m also interested in challenging the historical context of water-media as inherently feminine, clean, and aconceptual. My work is trying to say that we need to give more concern and caution to the environments we inhabit. To ignore our actions will be ruinous.
Technology--Art; Insects--Art; Smartphones--Art
Carlson, Olivia, "'Blind Consumption' and 'Squished' Series" (2019). Undergraduate Research Symposium 2019. 1.