Daily Art Moment: Lynn Aldrich

Image description: Biophilia, Lynn Aldrich, size 42 x 30 x 28 inches, sponges, brushes, scrubbers, scouring pads, mop heads, plungers, plastic, plumbing parts, wood. A sculpture composed of cleaning implements in yellows, blues, and greens with splashes of red, pink, copper, and silver and arranged to resemble a squat, asymmetrical column of sea life. Beginning at the bottom, flat dark green, blue, and yellow scrubbing pads layer to form a rounded base. Thirteen steel wool circles are applied at center forming a structure that suggests sea anemones. Blue scrubbers and dish sponges layer along with copper mesh scrubbers, nylon scrubbers in pink and green. Half circles of sponges in yellow, and shades of green are stacked at left to resemble striped plant life. A large natural light brown sea sponge features at right near red mesh scrubbers and a pink suction cup disk. Just below this, blue, green, and yellow rubber gloves are grouped at right with the fingers jutting out from sculpture. Moving up the sculpture, yellow, blue, green, and red dish sponges and pot scrubbers are folded and clustered to suggest more plant life. Plastic handled pot scrubbers protrude randomly from the sculpture. Near top left is another natural sponge next to a blue and white bottle brush. The sculpture is topped with three more bottle brushes, two white with green sponge tops and a royal blue one at left and an additional yellow dish scrubber with lavender bristles. The sculpture gives the overall sense that we could be viewing an organic life form instead of plastic cleaning implements.

“Brightly colored sponges, rubber gloves, scouring pads and scrubbing brushes pile together in the lively sculpture ‘Biophilia.’ Artist Lynn Aldrich describes this work as a “miniature explosion” created to reflect the many diverse life forms of a coral reef. She bends, cuts, and links these ordinary, everyday cleaning tools, shaping them into representations of vibrant sea creatures. ‘Biophilia’ is both fun and serious. The title is a compound noun that joins the Greek root words ‘bio,’ meaning life, and ‘philia,’ meaning love. The title can be read as ‘love of life,’ and the sculpture makes a joyful tribute to the abundance of creation and the awesome variety of life forms. The artist also connects her work to critical environmental issues, especially the massive amount of plastics that pollute the oceans resulting from our reliance on cheap disposable goods. For her part, Aldrich is drawn to these ‘worthless’ materials (as she describes them) and transforms them into a sharp statement on the need to clean up and repair the damage we have wrought on fragile ecosystems. This work went on view in the Jubitz Center shortly before the Museum closed in March; I hope you’ll come by and take a look now that we’ve reopened.”

Sara Krajewski, The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

Lynn Aldrich (American, born 1944). Biophilia, 2007. Sponges, brushes, scrubbers, scouring pads, mop heads, plungers, plastic, plumbing parts, wood. Gift of Jereann Chaney, 2018.20.1 © Lynn Aldrich

Related Content