Michelle Rothwell, Biomimicry

April 2015

Rothwell Artist Statement:

My work continues to evolve from studying the relationships between nature and humans. The next observation I’m exploring is that our whole existence is enveloped inside Nature and is never separate. Rather than focus on the juxtaposition of man-made materials and natural processes, I am now contemplating the container of the natural world as it holds the man-made world within.

The new body of work, Spirit Eggs, probes the interplay between exterior and interior forms and spaces to reveal the indivisible connection between nature and human culture.

The formal, visual inspiration for this is Banksia seed pods, an Australian wildflower whose cone-like flowers transform dramatically into pods during their life cycle. I use their exterior form to represent the way Nature cradles us within; I use the cracks in the pods, which are formed when seeds are released, as apertures to reveal interior scenes: symbolic forms of man-made constructions, from cave dwellings to post-modern structures.

My original works-on-paper were developed using the same digital-3D tools that produce video games and animated films. I have been creating such hyper-realistic virtual-sculptures for more than a decade. The interactive digital technology delights me as an artist. The process is so complex and exacting that the creative journey itself is an integral part of the final image. Use this link to my Process for more details.


Michelle Rothwell is Associate Professor at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is currently Program Director for the BFA in Design, Art & Technology and the BFA in Web Development & Interaction Design