Working at the intersection of art and science, New York-based artist Catherine Chalmers has built a multidisciplinary practice that celebrates nature and confronts humans’ often adversarial relationship with the earth. For her exhibition We Rule, Chalmers presents recent work alongside two site-specific drawing installations in The Drawing Center’s lower-level gallery and corridor that depict the underground labyrinth of an ant colony.
The installation is inspired by Chalmers’s observation of, and engagement with more than one dozen colonies of Leafcutter Ants on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. Over a ten-year period, Chalmers returned annually to the same spot, filming, photographing, and tracking the fate of these colonies. For Chalmers, Leafcutter Ants can be seen as a metaphor for humanity’s life on earth: they farm, communicate, and collaborate; they also colonize, battle, and destroy. Yet the drawings in We Rule will highlight a significant way that the insects diverge from humans—as an integrated part of their ecosystem, the ants carry out their actions in harmony with the earth.
Organized by Olga Valle Tetkowski, Deputy Director