In an ecosystem that is rapidly changing to meet the desires of humanity and mass globalization, the world is changing at an astonishing rate. Invasive species, a warmer atmosphere, and a loss of biodiversity due the alteration of land for crop production, transportation, and water usage, are some of the anthropogenic transformations taking place.
The result of this is an alternative environment, and a transmuted world. I am moved by these alternative landscapes. Neatly plowed crops and monoculture on country farm roads are orderly, uniform, and visually aesthetic. An aerial view at night of cities lights against black top and asphalt of a bustling metropolitan sprawl is bedazzling. A brick wall and trees covered in English Ivy is lush and vividly green. However, there is a poignancy in this seemingly beautiful and picture-perfect scenery. They are derivatives of excessive human activity that are markers of our sovereignty over an environment that was once harmonious and balanced. The alluring appearance of this new landscape represents our desire and ability to control everything around us for comfort, capital gain, power, and convenience.
In my work, I create unique, visual interpretations of hypothetical and futuristic worlds where biological and synthetic matter is inextricably combined due to anthropological effects. Plants and soil may or may not be organic. Rocks and geological formations are no longer composed of minerals and volcanic deposits, but are amalgamations made up of plastic and foam instead. Water may be seemingly present but could also be a mirage. A hybrid of textures, patterns, and perceived life forms that you might observe in these environments, and imaginary relics and surfaces made from a variety of different materials, are what one will find in my speculative, dystopian imaginary worlds.
I explore imaginative possibilities of what a landscape and the geology of the planet might look like in a distant future following the end of human existence. Textures, patterns, and intriguing surfaces made from discarded, found, and other acquired materials allude to the hybridity of the contemporary landscape. Burning, sewing, weaving, and etching are methods I use indicative of the plethora of processes to alter land and produce industrialized objects. The textures and surfaces of my worlds are lush and intricate and embody the richness and complexity of the earth but are paradoxically informed by the artifice of the contemporary landscape.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Marissa Shell was born in New York City where she lived and worked prior to moving to the Kansas City area to pursue her MFA at The University of Kansas focusing on Textiles and Sculpture. She is a former Studio Fellow at the Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, MO. Currently, she is a studio resident at InterUrban ArtHouse in Overland Park, KS and teaches Foundations and Fibers at The University of Kansas and Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design.