cause and effect

Exhibit Dates: 
Jun 3, 2011 - Oct 9, 2011
E. Avery Draper Showcase


Leslie Shellow creates installations that grow, sprawl, regenerate, reproduce, and creep across and around gallery spaces. She produces drawings that she cuts out and attaches to the walls and floor, and she also produces dimensional paper biological forms. Pulling her imagery from her observations of nature, both in the out-of-doors and through microscopes, Shellow addresses natural processes such as growth, decay, and regeneration.

Mold, lichen, corral, cells, viruses, and bacteria fascinate her. She admires these organisms which possess what the artist sees as “a miraculous capacity for survival and reproduction, even under the harshest conditions.” The artist comments, “No matter what we do to try to control these organisms, we ultimately have no power over how they act.” In her installations, Shellow suggests the unreserved character of reproduction. Viewers observe organisms that sometimes float into, and at other times, invade the gallery space. Interactions, both harmonious and discordant, take place through a variety of materials, including pen, ink, denril (a polypropylene material that is translucent with a doublesided matte surface), phonebook pages, wax, toilet paper rolls, dirt, acrylic paint, and sewing pins. Shellow employs repetitive mark-making to imitate the process of growth at the same time

that she cuts and removes sections of forms to indicate the processes of decay and decomposition. Nonetheless, her installations demonstrate her sensitivity for line, form, color, and light, resulting in ethereal and poetic spaces that capture the fragility of life as well as its insistent urge to survive.


-Susan J. Isaacs, PhD

Curator of Special Projects