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October 26, 2023 – December 23, 2023
Unearth is an installation built on site in the former coal chute for the building and considers land use, climate change, and their connection memory. Coal formed over millions of years through a complex geological process. It originated from plant material that accumulated in swampy environments during the Carboniferous period, around 360 to 300 million years ago. As plants in these wetlands died, their remains fell into the stagnant water, where they couldn’t fully decompose due to the lack of oxygen. Over time, layers of sediment covered the decaying plant matter, creating pressure and preventing complete decomposition. White rot fungi, despite their remarkable ability to decompose a wide range of organic materials due to their unique enzymatic systems, are generally unable to break down coal effectively. White rot fungi, are one of the only microorganisms that can break down lignin (a compound found in woody plants), which evolved at the end of the Carboniferous period (1). The forms in this exhibition will reference this synchronicity in being inspired by both fungi and plant organisms that existed millions of years ago. What can we learn from the tremendous age of this planet and the previous rhythms and cycles that it has gone through before humans?
Funding made possible by the Dickinson College Research & Development Committee
Presented by Forward Arts Foundation
Rachel Eng is a Pennsylvania-based artist working in a variety of materials. She earned her MFA from the University of Colorado Boulder and her BFA from Pennsylvania State University. Eng has shown her work at The Springfield Museum of Art (Springfield, OH; 2023), Rowan University (Glassboro, NJ; 2022), The Clay Studio (Philadelphia, PA; 2020), and Flecker Gallery (Long Island, NY; 2020). She has held residencies at McColl Center (Charlotte, NC), Studio Kura (Itoshima, Japan), and Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts (Newcastle, ME), among others. Eng was selected as a NCECA Emerging Artist in 2017. She currently lives in Carlisle, PA with her husband and son, where she is an Assistant Professor of Art and Art History at Dickinson College.
- Curated by Erika Diamond