Main Gallery: “Augmented Organics”

Featuring Eleanor Sabin, Cheryl Coon, and Alexandra Christen-Munoz





“Augmented Organics” features the work of three artists exploring humanity’s extraordinary power to shape our environments – controlling nature, but never quite completely. Cheryl Coon, Eleanor Sabin and Alexandra Christen-Muñoz respond to the resilience and vigor of nature using a variety of mediums, from sculpture to sound.

To augment is defined as making something greater by adding to it, refering to man’s desire to improve nature through technology. Augmented reality is an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device. Using their various mediums, Coon, Sabin and Christen- Muñoz present the question that while the connection between mankind as a whole and nature is inalienable and important, do we as humans, improve nature? Can nature be tamed? Will humanity be able to coexist with the endlessness of the natural world around us?

Cheryl Coon’s organic sculptures are inspired by organisms captured by an electron microscope. Using all man made materials, such as plastic zip ties, she represents the spikes, shells, thorns, quills and spines, the tools used by these orgaanisms to survive. Expanded in size, these usually tiny armored organisms invade our space.

“I am fascinated by these images of diatoms, protozoa, pollen, plankton, and algae – that demonstrate infinite variations of natural geometry”, Coon states.

Eleanor Sabin’s work is based on the ways in which our society defines and utilizes the natural world in an increasingly digital and industrial environment. Her practice is an exploration of things, beings, and systems that present as natural, but are intrinsically more industrial than they first appear.

“I am fascinated by instances of convergence between the made and the grown wherein the organic and the synthetic overlap, co-mingle, and collide” shares Sabin. “I find inspiration for my artwork in environmental issues, ecological systems, and my interactions with the landscape. In my drawings I use color, shape, and form as emblems of man-made conflict embodied in the digital, the climatic, the architectural, or the industrial.”

Sabin superimposes these forms on organic scenes, much like augmented reality technology, as a way to show how humans disrupt the organic systems in nature. The manipulation, while beautiful, is intrusive and unnatural.

“The effect is a feeling of reverberation, an echo of the discord between the unfolding organic setting and the interfering synthetic elements” Sabin states.

Alexandra Christen-Muñoz uses bio-based generative sound, where the music is written by electrical impulses emitted by biological organisms. These impulses are later tailored with instruments and sounds for the construction of each of Christen-Munoz’s dreamscape garden narratives.

“The Onirica album was recorded from ornamental plants during a sunny winter afternoon at my cousins Nanishouse in Curicó (Chile).” explains Christen-Muñoz. “The second album was recorded from trees and plants in nature”.

Using these recordings, Christen-Muñoz creates two soundscapes, one of rest and permanence, the other, lively and shifting. For the creation of each track there were no alterations made to the structure of the raw composition written by the organism.

Christen-Muñoz will be conducting a live recording of organisms at the Exhibit Reception on April 14th at 7pm.