Inherit the Earth: Margaret Smithers-Crump
The art of Margaret Smithers-Crump is rooted in a life-long love of both our planet as well as personal and global human interactions with the natural world. Her current work examines microscopic and macroscopic relationships in nature. Travels aboard and experience of the vast open spaces of West Texas has had a particular influence on the works to be exhibited at The Grace Museum. Smithers- Crump’s installation will feature new work created from recycled Plexiglas. The delicate and ephemeral quality of the sculpture focuses on the vulnerability and interconnectedness of the Earth’s diverse life forms and ecosystems.
My work focuses on the vulnerability and interconnectedness of the Earth’s diverse life forms and ecosystems. It explores natural conditions of development such as birth, maturation, procreation and death and unnatural conditions caused by human impact such as global warming, pollution and loss of habitat.
Growing up on a tiny island in Canada, I witnessed the transformation of our lake’s crystalline waters changing with obvious signs of pollution. Later on while living in the South Pacific, I saw clear evidence of invasive species and witnessed the awesome beauty of life in the coral reefs that are now affected by coral bleaching. Profoundly saddened, I developed a passionate regard for the planet and its life forms. As a result, I wanted to find an art material that could conceptually evoke fragility and breakage. I wanted something that looked like glass but offered many creative possibilities.
In the late 90’s I began working with recycled Plexiglas and polycarbonate and found that these substances perform with amazing versatility. For example, I am able to cut this material into hundreds of units that are shaped with heat and are chemically bonded together to create large two and three dimensional works for the wall, floor and ceiling.
Many of the suspended forms rotate with the slightest air currents due their light weight. The acrylic can receive a variety of media that is applied to the front and back of the forms. The painted surfaces are translucent and provide possibilities for greater depth and luminosity.
While Plexiglas offers diverse applications for my practice, it also offers compelling conceptual strengths that underscore my core concerns regarding the fragile balance of life on our planet. The glass-like appearance implies the possibility of breakage and shattering. It is a powerful metaphor for the tenuous existence of all life.