October 11, 2013
Saprobia was created for Momentum Tulsa, an exhibition for artists 30 and under sponsored by the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. I was one of three Spotlight Artists selected to create a body of work specifically for this exhibition.
The biota of a forest ecosystem continuously adapts in a self sustaining cycle of growth, reproduction, decline and renewal. Trees originate from tiny, energy packed seeds, consistently supported by rich mineral soil and moisture retained by organic matter throughout the growing process. Fallen debris takes on new life on the floor, impacting organisms residing in that locale. Broken down by saprobic organisms, trees that lose vitality become protective insulation and minerals that nourish plants for generations forward. Life feeds life, and all parts of the ecosystem support each other in the continuity of ecology, perhaps in a different form but always present.
Rarely do we think of a tree as a product of the growth and death of all other trees in that place before it, an organism nourished by the same building blocks that it will one day become in order to support future life. Saprobia is an interpretation of this concept of forest life cycles through an installation of saprobic fruiting bodies, each taking shape in the form of fiber and incorporating components of a certain species of tree. These saprobic representations of a species join the viewer’s perception to the continuity of forest mineral cycling and the interconnectedness of all organisms in an ecosystem, past and present.
Saprobia poses the question of what is next for the elements that once comprised a plant. How will they contribute to other life henceforth? How can so small a thing have such an impact? How remarkable it is that we get to witness this strikingly mysterious collaboration of life.