Between Terminals A-East and B
Philadelphia sculptor Elisabeth Nickles is inspired by nature, particularly marine life. She is fascinated with the plants, animals, and organisms that inhabit the sea. She strives to capture the essence of their various textures, shapes, and structural qualities using wet paper pulp overtop an internal core such as wire, foam, cardboard, or newspaper. The paper pulp is an organic material, usually abaca or flax, which underscores Nickles’ interest in nature. The paper pulp also enables her to create forms based on observation and spontaneity as the pliable characteristics of the pulp often lead to unexpected results. It is this wonderment that Nickles recreates in her imagined underwater landscapes. The three-dimensional vignettes trigger images of the sea – a reef, seaweed, barnacles – and numerous primordial creatures and plants that seem to have been unearthed from the deep abyss. Although Nickles’ visual interpretation of the ocean is primarily based on fantasy, many of the forms kindle a sense of familiarity. It is this combined reality and creativity that makes Nickles’ work a revelation to explore.