E R I C A K O N R A D
Everything Became Beautiful
My current body of work is based on my interpretation of animal and plant cells. The work is inspired by my recent journey through breast cancer and healing, with the core of my work being a contradiction between fragility and strength. The direction I took marks a paradigm shift in my work, with a focus on installation, colour, forms and patterns linking the micro and macro worlds.
After facing my own mortality, all things around me became beautiful, the natural world and its beauty was amplified. I went into nature to heal, hiking mountains and visiting the ocean, taking photographs of plants, shapes and colours. Because plants have rigid cell walls and do not die from cancer, I felt particularly drawn to studying them. This paired with research on microscopic images of cells, led to the inspiration for this body of work. Exploring the connections between science and art, I focussed on merging the rational with the abstract. As everything happens at the cellular level, I was acutely aware of the profound effects these tiny cells have on human consciousness and how one cell gone wrong can alter someone’s life. Dissecting the cell structure and reassembling the elements into something beautiful is my attempt to document the journey.
Pairing natural material (paper and wax) with plastic (plexiglass and mylar) was deliberate to contrast healing to the disease. Rigid forms that morph into a flowing mass signifies the tension between order and chaos and the feeling of being out of control, and the importance of letting go. These cells could belong to anyone and everyone. “Everything Became Beautiful” is a love letter to healthy cells, and a personal testament to courageously moving forward into new territory.
Funding for this work was generously provided by: Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance and the Columbia Basin Trust