A hybrid between drawing and sculpture, the work of Dharma Strasser MacColl explores, at a micro-biological level, the natural world that is unseen to the naked eye and the environmental changes taking place within that world.
With meticulous attention to detail, MacColl first makes tiny bead-like shapes out of black clay or white porcelain that she then sews in clumps and swirling patterns onto handmade, rice and watercolor paper. Like a quilt, even the paper is sewn together from several smaller pieces to make a larger sheet. Some pieces are embellished with touches of watercolor or gouache.
Perhaps the sewing could be considered a slight-nod to “women’s work” and domesticity, but the artwork itself references life outside the home, from a cellular level. Although purely abstract, the shapes and designs mimic cells, snowflakes, plants, and other vegetation.
“For the past few years I have been aware of the enormous changes happening to our environment on a molecular scale, one that is all but invisible, and therefore relatively abstract. By illustrating a family of imaginary, multiplying cells, I am mapping the changes I see around me, however personal and abstract the results may be.”