Erin Grice

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition

Cast of the Earth

Earth is so drastically affected by ecological degradation, that multispecies life is threatened in the wake of this climate catastrophe. Waste accumulates in every crevice of the environment, and it seems as though the planet is slipping away under the weight of consumption. Navigating volatile environments that are becoming increasingly more precarious, I collect differently from the world around me in ways that care for neglected sites of disintegration. Guided by an ethics of sustainability, my practice rests upon the finding of bone, insect or plant fragments, and pigments that I make from organic scraps of food that I consume.

Discarded matter becomes part of an entangled ecosystem within my studio, as objects interact with each other, and their forms (re)imagined. Interwoven and interconnected, instances of decay come to hold and support lively activity, revealing the vitality inherent in matter which is often misperceived as inert. As deep ecology suggests, inherent value exists in all living things regardless of whether they are human or not. Such vitality unfolds from within and between matter and thus cannot be disentangled from life itself. I therefore turn to vital materialism to think of our human existence in more-than-human terms. Vitalism realizes the agency inherent in matter as everything is an actant in constant response to one another.

Cast of the Earth is a temporary site in which cast away objects are commemorated through sensitive interactions with the ecosystem that has formed. The studio is a space that allows me to collaborate with all sorts of animals that I coexist with. Here, spiders and rats shape the space irrevocably and their traces of lively activity lay scattered across my work. As rat footprints become indecipherable from my own marks, my practice makes visible the human entanglement with nature through subtle similarities of form. In recognizing humanities role within the larger ecosystem of vibrant bodies, environmental collapse may be addressed with an empathetic gesture.

I foster ways of caring for a damaged planet as I have become attuned to objects discarded. I attempt to hold them in their vulnerable state, through delicately weaving fragments into a conglomerating web, or encasing them in bioplastics that I create. Objects are brought into a space where we may view them briefly before they too slip away back into the earth. Preserved momentarily, I pay homage to them whilst offering an opportunity to reconstruct modes of being in (and being of) the world.

“As you navigate this space, may you tread gently with the earth.”