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Earthly Cosmology

paintings by Katie St. Clair 

Center for the Arts | Dalton Gallery

121 E. Main St. | Rock Hill, SC


Virtual Exhibition

July 31 - Sept. 4, 2020
For inquiries, contact:

Michael Gentry

Gallery Manager

Katie St. Clair's Earthly Cosmology embraces the duality and ambiguity of the ecosystems that live underground; the intricate systems whirring with life beneath our feet.

Beginning on Friday, July 31 | Click the Virtual Gallery image below to visit the EARTHLY COSMOLOGY online gallery.


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The natural world has always seemed to me extremely complex and impossible to truly comprehend. Lying on the forest floor, even the simplest forms and structures: a leaf, twig or mushroom is ripe with mystery. An alchemy is realized as the living world decays and transforms. The layers of soil below us are in an earthly cosmic dance, one where the whole composition is more important than any one functioning individual aspect.


Above ground the same is true for humans, as our cells make up less than half of our microbiome; the rest is a diverse ecosystem of fungal, bacterial and viral matter. We are our environment; our skin is a sponge. Every cluster of moss is home to a forest of organisms and every fleck of mica holds a galaxy of elements within.


To understand that our experience is one perspective among many is the privilege and perhaps most profound failing of our human minds. To perceive the world with one lens -- our anthropocentric one --  flattens its vastness. As an artist, I find myself in awe of the endless connections, the symbiotic and beneficial partnerships as well as the parasitic relationships, that are in constant flux. We are one organism in an impossibly complex web of being.


This series of paintings embraces the duality and ambiguity of the ecosystems that live underground; the intricate systems whirring with life beneath our feet. These layers of earth are woven together by networks of fungus and their hidden networks of mycelium. While painting, I was searching for the tangible colors, forms and textures of what I can see above ground and letting them hover like an uncanny veil over the deep earth and all that lies unknown.


Katie received a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Magna Cum Laude, from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and her Master of Fine Arts from the Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan. After graduation, she was awarded the artist in residence at Albion College, ‘The Visiting Teaching Fellow’ and residency at the Burren College of Art in Ireland and taught as visiting professor at Albion College. She currently holds the title of Assistant Professor of Art at Davidson College.


She has exhibited nationally and internationally at the Burren College of art in Ireland, Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, and the Zhou B. Art Center in Chicago to name a few. She received Best in Show 11th annual Alumni Exhibition, University of Michigan and at the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition curated by the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio. Christopher Knight, art critic for the Los Angeles Times and a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, selected The award winners.

In 2018, her solo exhibition “Fruiting Bodies” was featured on the front cover of Creative Loafing- Charlotte. The article, written by Pat Moran sheds light on her new series of paintings inspired by hikes in the Carolina woodlands while forging for mushrooms. ( She has found emersion in the landscape to be critical to her artistic process and has attended numerous artist residencies such as VCCA, Vermont Studio Center Residency Program and Porcupine Mountain National Park A.I.R Program to facilitate her work.


Katie has extensive experience with cross-disciplinary artwork created in partnership with college students and a wide range of collaborators from different fields: doctors, community leaders, writers, scientists, sociologists and naturalists. She won a $50,000 commission for her mural proposal and collaboration, designed for Northern Kentucky University’s new Health and Innovation Center. The mural focuses on cycles of healing in the native ecosystem and depicts a landscape of milkweed and its complex symbiotic relationship with pollinators. The project was made possible with the collaborative efforts of naturalist Greg Torres, as well as NKU professors and students.

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