David Nasca: Model Organisms

Bright green abstract sea creature on a black background.

Supernature (Cynarina Iachrymalis) (2021) cast uranium glass. image / provided

In 1882 Cornell University's first president, Andrew Dickson White ordered a set of glass models of marine invertebrates made by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka. These hand-made, exquisite glass models allowed scientists to study translucent and difficult to preserve marine invertebrates as lifelike models. For his exhibit Model Organisms, David Nasca (M.F.A. '22) draws inspiration from the Blaschka models to show that marine invertebrates provide fertile ground for imagining richly diverse human futures. Using both traditional and digital sculpting techniques, this exhibit presents a model-making practice of the 21st century. In it, silicone mirrors the fleshy translucence of invertebrate bodies, hardware store PVC pipe hints at the interconnectedness of symbiotic relationships, black-light recalls the atrophic midnight zone of the deep ocean, and the translucency of resin is used to explore the ghostly, ever-increasing phenomena of bleached corals.

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