Carol Boram-Hays piece, Untitled, is currently on display in the 117 Gallery as part of our 95th Annual All Media Exhibition
Using industrial materials, Carol Boram-Hays creates sculptures and installations that are intended to suggest places and beings that exist between animate and the inanimate. The primary inspiration for her art comes from the post-industrial landscape of the eastern and Midwestern part of the United States. Acutely aware of both the economic lifeblood and environment hazards that these places represent, she finds them both engaging and repellant.
Using the remains of these places as stepping off points, she creates work that addresses her profound ambivalence toward these places. They act as a reminder about the toxic legacy of industrialization that is currently being spread around the globe, and questions the environmental costs that our current lifestyle will leave to future generations.
Many of us think that we live in a post-industrial age. Though industrial production has moved beyond the eyes of many of the people who consume goods made this way, it continues to exact the same environmental and human costs on the communities in which manufacturing is located and the location where raw materials for these processes are obtained. Moreover, as the cycle of consumption and obsolescence has become increasingly rapid, the cast-offs from this disposable lifestyle is leaving our natural and human resources abused, our environment polluted and degraded, and our lives increasing divorced from the natural and real. In an attempt to adapt to the onslaught of changes being done to the environment by humans, nature is increasingly creating hybrid forms that fuse the man-made with the natural. Organisms are evolving to tolerate artificial compounds in their bodies. Mollusks incorporating plastics into their shells, organisms evolving to tolerate former poisons, and animals that use refuse to create their homes are just some of the modifications nature is devising. These hybrids are like many of products we consume – are simultaneously compelling and toxic. Using these new life forms as inspiration, I use metal remains reclaimed from industrial sites and cast them within concrete, and then to color their surfaces. The uncanny forms are intended to suggest an animated fusion of the organic and the industrial. The colors are meant to evoke the natural changes that are happening to these materials. I also work on installations and sculptures made with materials such as steel ductwork, conduit and electrical wiring which are associated with our contemporary architecture. Like these hybrid organisms, many of the environments that we exist in are mutant hybrids of simulacrum of past, present and future; and the natural and the manufactured. All of these hybrids represent an artificial reality that is a hallmark of our anthropocene age. My work is an exploration of the future legacy of our current lifestyle and its effects on our world. It is my way of making peace with the post-industrial legacy that I have inherited and trying to reveal the widespread environmental costs that continue to be part of our lifestyle.
She has exhibited her sculptures and installations in galleries across the U.S. and in Germany. She has been a member of the pioneering A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, NY since 2004, and has received numerous awards for her work, including recognition from the Whirlpool Sculpture Competition, the National Association of Women Artists, and the Greater Columbus Arts Council Artist Residency Program. Her sculpture and installations have also been featured in reviews in publications such as The New York Times, Landscape Architecture and Dart International.
Learn more about our 95th Annual All Media Exhibition here.
See more of Carol’s work on her website.