RACHEL BERNSTEIN
Nature is usually thought of in positive terms. Flora, fauna, and wildlife are beautiful things that we like to behold. This aesthetic stance depends on the assumption that nature is controllable and non-threatening. We live in artificial dwellings, and keep nature on the outside, with the exception of the plants and domestic animals. Our dwellings encroach on nature, not conversely. Some organic forms, such as mold, fungus, or hives, invade their environs. I am interested in the idea of a natural world that cannot be easily contained—natural objects that reestablish their position by entering ‘our’ space. In so doing, I want to redefine our relationship to nature by repositioning our place in the hierarchy.

My goal is not to render nature ugly or menacing. Rather, I want to take natural objects that are not less traditional and draw attention to their aesthetic qualities, thereby challenging cultural conventions of beauty. Whether I use soft and delicate materials, embroider details of the body’s interior, or sew clusters of fungi that creep into our space, the viewer can find comfort and delight in these unbidden natural forms, even wanting to touch them.