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NYC Portraits

  • Steel, silicone, and glass frames, filled with NYC mud, chalk, eggs, newspaer
  • 15"x15"x2"
  • Lower Manhattan Cultural Council residency on Governors Island, NYC (August-December 2012)

I learned to weld at the Art Students League. There, I made 5 steel and glass frames that hold mud and water from polluted waterways to create evolving portraits of NYC. Each frame includes mud from one of the following contaminated water ways: Hudson River (PCBs), Gowanus Canal (heavy metals), Deadhorse Bay (exposed landfill), East River (raw sewage), Newtown Creek (oil spill). Bacteria photosynthesize pigments and create a transforming colorfield as defined by the physical and chemical conditions of each water:mud sample. As one species exhausts its preferred resources and dies out, another species thrives on the waste products of its predecessor. Transition of color indicates ecological succession of microfauna colonizing the murky underbelly of New York City.

There were several different renderings that resulted from the photo documentation of the pigmented changes in these 5 steel and glass frames over the months August 2012-January 2013.

  • Portraits of NYC: Triptychs, 2013 (time lapse photos 1:1 scale with the original sculptures)

  • Drop Dead Toxic, 2016 (36"x72" Epson print on synthetic silk for the runway)
  • Portraits of NYC: Gowanus Canal, 2014 (clamshell box holding 40 time lapse images)


  • Gowanus Canal, a film by Sarah Christmas, in collaboration with Jenifer Wightman received the Gil Omen Art Science Award at the 52 Anne Arbor Film Festival

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