I believe it is the job of an artist to reflect their times. We are at a unique time in the history of our planet when for perhaps the first time a sentient life form is aware of the possibility that they are responsible for a mass extinction event. In fact, this will be our planet’s sixth mass extinction event in the past four billion years of the history of life on earth. Based on research and observation, my work is infused with the poetry of human emotion while simultaneously investigating the link between our cultural and biological evolution. This epic story of life and death of our shared biosphere consumes all of my work, whether it is a solution based environmental piece or illuminating a scientific discovery.
I am fascinated by biology and natural forms and how, in nature, form follows function and function follows form. I am trained classically as a figurative sculptor. However, my work is cross disciplinary and includes environmental restoration, film, performance, photography, theatre and music. I am especially fascinated by the microscopic realm, and how the shape of things in nature dictates their function. I delight in making the invisible visible. My goal is to captivate my viewers about the role of the microscopic world in our shared biosphere. I often use innovative technologies to create my work for example, fabricating outsized sculptures from scientific data like bioinformatics. Each piece is the result of extensive research; rooted in one common principal which is the quest for primary source material often gleaned from direct collaboration with scientists. As result of this practice, my work acts as a conduit between scientific discovery and the general public. I consider all of my work to be theatrical and performative whether, it is a live performance film or static sculpture.
Currently the 2020-2021 pandemic has captured world-wide attention. We are entering what has the potential of being the dawning of the golden age for science literacy. Never before have images of the microscopic world been more prevalent in popular culture. In a profound sense people are realizing that their lives depend on scientific breakthroughs at a microscopic scale. There exists today a hunger for knowledge about science in the general public. We have proved with the invention of the COVID 19 vaccine that humanity can work together collaboratively on an urgent problem in record speed. This intense collaboration has been incredible to witness and be a part of. The pandemic though tragic, has awakened the general public to the importance of science and the importance microscopic world. My current body of work addresses this pivotal moment for humanity through depictions of recent scientific discoveries celebrating the discovery of the COVID 19 vaccine and beyond. It is a joy to create this work because it is in fact a celebration of how we can work together on a global scale on an urgent threat. It is my goal as an artist to inspire, inform and empower my viewers about the natural world and scientific discovery. My intention with all of my work is to influence and foster a global bioethic in which we care for one another and act as stewards for our shared biosphere.
Mara G. Haseltine
Cambridge MA 2021