The philosopher Edmund Husserl coins the term ‘lifeworld’ and describes a world experienced in common by all living beings. For a lifeworld to exist and to lead to understanding, multiple senses must be engaged in a sustained way with the one’s surroundings. This project is my way to explore one small aspect of our relationship with the natural world. 

I am interested in the small, incidental, natural beings we barely notice in our everyday activities. My focus is on spore-producing organisms, specifically mosses, lichens and fungi that live in a mutually beneficial relationship with their surroundings. Initially, I created several individual paintings, combining both dry and wet media and often using pigments extracted from lichens and mushrooms that were later collaged into a single, more complex, transformed work. The forms in my pieces shift, fragment, intertwine and have evolved into existing in symbiosis, and as the work expands, so does my understanding and appreciation towards these organisms. 

Essentially, sporulation occurs in a wide variety of organisms, to facilitate both survival in adverse growth conditions and dispersal to new, more hospitable environments. These organisms have been essential to the sustainability of biodiversity for millions of years. Studies have found that one gram of moss from the forest floor, a piece about the size of a muffin, would harbor 150,000 protozoa, 132,000 tardigrades, 3,000 springtails, 800 rotifers, 500 nematodes, 400 mites and 200 fly larvae. These numbers tell us something about the astounding quantity of life you can find in what most people consider mundane. 

My artwork mimics the way these spore-formers grow from a single source as I add collage elements to build the piece into a whole. I use science and intuition to inform my marks and shapes, blurring the boundaries between art, science, philosophy and human experience. 

lifeworld.

Mixed media on paper.

2021.