Leslie Shellow has created a site specific installation in one of NIH’s display cases on the third floor of Building 10! Check out the images and Leslie’s artist statement below.

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Artist Statement:
My work emerges out of my experience of nature as a simultaneous force of beauty and destruction. While walking in the woods, along seashores and riverbeds, I have closely observed growing and dying organisms that gather beneath my feet and reflect on their intricate patterning and their unique interactions with one another. In my installations, I invite the viewer to notice things they might normally disregard or overlook and to be reminded of the invisible world that goes on beneath our noses and outside our awareness.

My process is spontaneous yet slow, methodical yet intuitive. I respond to visual stimuli and allow them to navigate me through the creation of multiple drawn components that will eventually go into the installation. I work meditatively, building one small element on top of another in the very time consuming, arduous process of drawing and cutting every piece by hand. While the task of making the objects takes months or years to complete, the installation itself is a fluid, intuitive, process that is conceived on the spot and completed in one week. I approach each gallery space with little preconception of how the work will end up. The landscape seems to grow of its own volition. The methodical yet haphazard process represents what I feel is happening in nature both inside and outside our bodies.

The materials used in my installations consist of many recycled products such as, phone books, wax, toilet paper rolls, old drawings, found paper, and dirt. It is important to me not to leave a heavy footprint on the earth with my work, for I want my art to add awareness without adding clutter.

This work underscores the opposing forces of nature: magnetism vs. repulsion, contraction vs. expansion, growth vs. decay, and beauty vs. ugliness. It is a combination of these polarities that can be seen in nature both inside our own bodies and in the world as a whole. For the work to succeed, I feel it should compel the viewers to recognize themselves on a more cellular level, to recognize who we are inside.

My installations are not static pieces of artwork. They continue to grow and evolve as the pieces go from gallery to gallery. Each new installation is an outcropping of the one that came before.

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