Grace McIntyre-Willis

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Grace McIntyre-Willis is an interdisciplinary artist studying in the MFA Digital Arts program at Tulane University. Their practice currently utilizes 3D ceramic printing, biological systems, and 2D design to explore morphology, existentialism, and non-human intelligence in the form of sculptural and illustrative works. Calling upon the visual references of organic form, they hope the work will encourage the viewer to point inquiries back at the universe.

Grace’s interest in the deep sea began as a child; being from the gulf coast of Florida led them to spend countless hours snorkeling in Mother Oceans embrace. The work they seek to develop bridges the gaps between biology, technology, and art, so that the viewer is visually provoked to reflect and expand upon their interpretations, knowledge, and relationship with their environment. In the summer of 2023, Grace will be working with eco-conservation researchers at the FCAT reserve in the Choco rainforests of southern Ecuador. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, Grace aims to provide researchers with visual data, and advocate for conservation through community engagement.

Digital Specimens Artist statement

Digital Specimens explores morphology and ecological symbiosis as a way of visualizing the interconnectivity between all life on Earth. The work calls upon the evolutionary split of species and the visual similarities they still hold to one another. The coral mushroom resembles a branching sea coral; a sea urchin mimics an Astrophytum asterias cactus. These resemblances reveal patterns in evolutionary development, and a rich philosophy of interconnectivity between all life forms. Using 3D modeling software, I synthesize the homologous structures common between both the living and nonliving, and observe the geometries they hold. In my process of modeling the forms, I dream of what could be, or what could have been. These works are encapsulated by materials and environments that mimic natural processes. They may take the form of a life form, or landscape. When printed with hand harvested clay, the works can be immersed into their environment and become symbiotic with their surroundings. The surface of these sculptural works may become a microbiome or shelter for microorganisms, plant matter, and invertebrates. In a controlled environment like an aquarium, growth patterns of plants can be altered by adjusting the direction of the light source; this causes algae to grow in the contours of the works. As these non-human intelligences navigate the contrived terrain, they may find solace in a point of light encircled by land forms.

Investigating the intricacies in the development and growth of all matter reveals a small facet of the fabric of our reality, and existential thought.
Unititled, 3D printed ceramic, webbing, resin, glow powder, 7′ H X 3′ W X 3′ L, 2024

Posts about Grace’s works soon!