Amelia Butcher's exhibition 'Sister Worm' was exhibited at the Seymour Art Gallery in North Vancouver BC, from March 7 – July 24, 2020.
Amelia Butcher’s captivating solo exhibition uses curiosity, empathy, and labor to explore both the real and imagined lives of worms and other inhabitants of the soil. Immersing the viewer in a subterranean environment informed by rigorous research, literature, and humor, Sister Worm asks viewers to consider a more lateral relationship to natural systems, both seen and unseen. Butcher writes: “I don’t mean to see worms and soil as metaphors for human experiences; I really am interested in the worms themselves. Their experiences are not vessels for mine; our lives can rhyme with each other.”
Drawing upon ancient ceramic processes and modern technology, Butcher establishes thoughtful parameters for her installations, removing her hand as the artist as much as possible. She does so in order to give voice to both her subject and to her material, itself the product of millennia of geological transformation and the work of worms. In one piece, Worm Brain, LED lights soldered to gold-lustre circuits on a ceramic tile blink as they are turned on and off by the world’s first digital organism – a c. elegans nematode worm. In Fistful, hundreds of small ceramic pieces hang suspended from the ceiling: an imagined ‘portrait’ of the particles in a fist-full of soil. Iron Midden explores Butcher’s own relationship to iron while nodding both to the importance of archeological waste left behind by ancient civilizations, also known as a ‘midden’ and earthworm burrows which go by the same name.
These and many more pieces fill the gallery, each delving deeply into a different area of thought, but all arriving back to the firm belief Butcher holds that we need to create more kin with each other, non-human creatures, and the natural world that supports us.
Amelia Butcher is a visual artist based in British Columbia with a sculptural and drawing practice centered in clay. She graduated from Emily Carr University in 2013 and is a founding member of the Dusty Babes Collective. Since 2015 she and the other Dusty Babes have been sharing the studio built by the late Don Hutchinson, located in Surrey on the traditional territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Stó:lō, W̱SÁNEĆ and Kwantlen First Nations.