So I can say that my shell made itself, without my taking any special pains to have it come out one way rather than another, but this doesn’t mean that I was absent-minded during that time; I applied myself, instead, to the act of secreting...” -Italo Calvino, The Spiral
Inspired by the oyster reefs that once surrounded and protected New York City, MATERIAL GIRLS presents My Shell Makes Itself, a group show & installation that will take the seashell as its central metaphor. Simultaneously soft and strong, an individual shell-bound animal builds, alters, and repairs its own source of shelter and protection. Through the formation of this boundary, the life experience and external conditions of the organism are inscribed into the resulting shape and coloring of its shell. Reciprocally, the shell’s environment is profoundly impacted by its presence (or absence). My Shell Makes Itself will explore themes of porousness, boundaries, softness, and community-building, as well as the collaborative, site-responsive model of artistic production advanced by the collective.
MATERIAL GIRLS is a non-hierarchical collective of artists dedicated to building community, fostering collaboration, and opening up space by facilitating exhibitions, educational programming, and tool-sharing initiatives. My Shell Makes Itself is made possible (in part) by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.