Shells

One of the most common reactions to my work has been, “Have you considered making it bigger?” There’s a strong belief that people are only willing to look at things if they’re large, that small is unworthy of notice. And yet how many hours a day are now spent looking at the screens of our phones?

Everything must find its proper proportion. Insects can’t get above a certain size or else they’d suffocate in their exoskeletons. Eggs are notoriously fragile but on closer examination they’re remarkably strong. And things which seem impressive to us can still break very easily. We’re all fragile in our own way. Perhaps an obsession with size is an attempt to ally ourselves with something stronger than ourselves, to deny our vulnerability. This ignores the ability of many small things to connect and build a stronger pattern.

The works in my show are an attempt to echo the patterns of nature. Branches become neurons, eggs become gardens, all while strength and fragility play off each other. I examine the small through art to connect with the larger whole because I can’t escape the conviction that big, in art and life, ultimately does not outweigh the small.

Making tiny worlds and figures has long been a passion for Justina Kochansky. After studying Wayang Kulit (shadow puppetry) in Bali, she has gone on to perform puppet shows in places ranging from Wilton’s Music Hall to Abney Park Cemetery. For five years she ran a sculptural webcomic called Articulate Matter, making tiny vignettes for a cast of sea creatures three times per week. Her current work with eggshells is a result of an artist residency at the Rensing Center and their focus on “ecology, economy, and creativity.”

See more of Justina’s work on instagram and her website.