Nicole Banowetz: The Intervening Substance

May 14 – August 8

Inflatable sculpture based on microscopic organisms

My work is inspired by the natural world. I find historical and environmental relationships to tell poetic stories about the human condition. I address these human qualities using imagery from the animal, plant, mineral, and bacterial worlds. I re-envision and recreate these forms in soft inflatable sculptures which invite the viewer to come close. Inflatables have power. They draw an audience in by promising the familiarity of a jumping castle or the wacky waving man. Humans are more likely to explore spaces with an open mind if we are surrounded by something familiar. The inflatable is familiar, pillowy, and comforting which gives viewers the security and confidence they need to enter a strange space with an open and questioning state of mind. My work creates a unique combination of the familiar and the strange which catches the viewer off guard, allowing them to embrace and question the world around them. 

The work in this show is inspired by relationships and the ways in which we as humans find meaning. Humankind naturally questions our origins, existence, and futures. Where do we come from? What is our place in this world, and in the earth’s ecosystem? What are our responsibilities to this planet and beyond? Where will the future take us? Each human asks themselves these questions and finds a variety of ways to answer them from science to religion to social networks. All the works in the show address these questions. Some reach back into the past to explore mysteries such as our biological origins, and how we as humans have found meaning. Others warn of possible futures through a science fiction aesthetic and sensibility. My hope is that this exhibition creates a complex feeling of simultaneous joy and discomfort within the viewer encouraging them to question their place in this world. 

-Nicole Banowetz