Directly challenging the romantic notion of humanity’s ideal union with the natural world, Kate MacDowell‘s haunting and intricate porcelain sculptures are each one worthy as a symbol of our combined dependance and destruction of the world we inhabit. Her portfolio page is a barrage of provocative works, but even though many have clever wordplay titles, none feel like one-note ideas, allowing for deeper interpretation as she peels back the skin to reveal how deep roots and ruin are intertwined. Each hand-built piece is rendered in the same translucent white porcelain, giving a sense of un-life to each specimen.
Though much of her art is vertebrate-based, there is some wonderful attention paid to our uncomfortable and complicated relationship with insects. Greedy grasshoppers use human hands to shove corn into their mouthparts, merging our unceasing hunger for monoculture with that of an unstoppable locust swarm. In an even more sombre work, invasive organisms- invertebrates and plants spread by accident or design- issue from a beautiful woman’s mouth like sores, transmitting ecological disease wherever she goes.