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Work Samples

Fertile Soil (Becky).jpg

Fertile Soils (Becky), 2022, Mold spores on Polaroid covered with epoxy, 4.233 x 3.483 inches

Fertile Soils (Jo Cosme)

Fertile Soils (Jo Cosme), 2022, Mold spores on Polaroid covered with epoxy, 4.233 x 3.483 inches

Colony '50'

Colony '50', 2021, Mold spores on panels covered with resin, 8x9ft At Hamiltonian Gallery, Washington DC

Bordered World

Bordered World, Evolving mold in 2500 Petri dishes at Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY, 2014-15 DESCRIPTION: Bordered World creates a competition for resources, territorial wars, and struggle for power and control among living organisms. In this project, I reference the fundamental, underlying social dilemmas and principles of our existence in an effort to understand and highlight social issues.

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About Selin

Anne Arundel County

Selin Balci's picture
Selin Balci is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher. Her artistic practice combines scientific equipment and biological mediums with traditional art materials. Selin’s work is classified as bio-art, a new direction in contemporary art that employs living organisms. The marriage of her formal science and art education let her exploit this relatively new practice. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Maryland, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from West Virginia University, and a Bachelor... more

Fertile Soils

Fertile Soils, 2022-Ongoing, Mold spores on Polaroid covered with epoxy, 4.233 x 3.483 inches

In ‘Fertile Soils’, the resident artists at Mass MoCA and Istanbul Art Residency interacted and contributed to my work with their unseen microorganisms. After taking their polaroid portraits and collecting samples from their body, I reconstructed their images with their mold spores. Each person’s unique microbiome transformed their portraits into a new reality. While making the hosts’ microorganisms visible to our eyes with distinct colors and forms, the unseen inhabitants’ interactions and their natural form created a new identity of the artists.

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Contamination Series, 2019-2022

I use live microscopic mold that leaves physical inscriptions by direct contact on the surface of a paper or board, which creates a living platform. In Contamination Series, the surface of each panel is laced with graceful, brilliant mold until the entire surface is covered and patterned with circular borders. Then, I assembled these forms and shapes that mold produced, to create various visual references that can relate to both natural and human impacted landscapes. The forms have similarities to human-induced activities on the landscape. They create territories, boundaries, and borderlines and end up with conflicts on the picture surface.

"If the artistic process is more interesting than the outcome, as some modernists hold, then the greatest artist is nature itself. Its systems are endless and inexorable, even if the results aren’t always impressive to the naked eye. Take, for example, the fungal experiments of Selin Balci, one of five former Hamiltonian Artists fellows who return to the gallery in “Empirical Evidence.” The Turkey-born Marylander is exhibiting such seemingly inert items as petri dishes that contain slowly evolving mold spores. Far more dramatic is a more artist-directed piece, a five-minute fast-motion video in which molds spread across a world map. It demonstrates the power and scope of the tiniest living things."
Mark Jenkins, October 1, 2021, The Washington Post
 
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  • Colony '50'

    Colony '50', 2021, Mold spores on panels covered with resin, 8x9ft At Hamiltonian Gallery, Washington DC
  • Colony '50'

    Colony '50', 2021, Mold spores on panels covered with resin, 8x9ft At Hamiltonian Gallery, Washington DC
  • Colony '50'

    Colony '50', 2021, Mold spores on panels covered with resin, 8x9ft At Hamiltonian Gallery, Washington DC
  • New Land

    New Land, Mold on yupo paper mounted on panels and covered with epoxy resin, 50x150", 2019 At Pelham Art Center, Pelham, NY "Selin Balci utilizes mold spores grown in a bio lab as metaphors for the human condition in our ongoing fight for resources and territory. These abstract works on panels are a new form of art that takes months to grow in a laboratory/studio." Curators Charlotte Mouquin and Victoria Rolett

Contamination Series, 2013-2018

I use live microscopic mold that leaves physical inscriptions by direct contact on the surface of a paper or board, which creates a living platform. In Contamination Series, the surface of each panel is laced with graceful, brilliant mold until the entire surface is covered and patterned with circular borders. Then, I assembled these forms and shapes that mold produced, to create various visual references that can relate to both natural and human impacted landscapes. The forms have similarities to human-induced activities on the landscape. They create territories, boundaries, and borderlines and end up with conflicts on the picture surface.

"Balci gives living microbes a place to grow and organize themselves on specially prepared plates. The microorganisms, which normally are invisible to the naked eye, are made visible in these conditions. They create maps of “territories” as they battle for the food sources, and their behavior is disturbingly parallel to many scenarios of human conflict. The artist organizes and assembles the landscapes or maps that result from these natural migrations into abstract compositions that are limited in tonal variation but elegant in form." by Claudia Rousseau, Gazette.net, September 18, 2013. 
 
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  • Contamination 28

    Contamination'28', mold on panels, 60x60", 2014 at Trawick Prize Exhibition, Gallery B, Bethesda, Maryland. DESCRIPTION: I use live microscopic mold that leaves physical inscriptions by direct contact on the surface of a paper or board, which creates a living platform. In Contamination Series, the surface of each panel is laced with graceful, brilliant mold until the entire surface is covered and patterned with circular borders.
  • Contamination 28 (detail)

    Contamination'28', mold on panels, 60x60", 2014 at Trawick Prize Exhibition, Gallery B, Bethesda, Maryland.
  • Contamination 28 (detail)

    Contamination'28', mold on panels, 60x60", 2014 at Trawick Prize Exhibition, Gallery B, Bethesda, Maryland.
  • Annapolis (Highland Beach)

    Microscopic mold on panels, 40x100”, 2018 at School 33 Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland. In this work, I used microscopic mold that is collected from Highland Beach, Annapolis to create an unseen landscape of the scene. Emerging from a diverse array of mold, this work interprets the landscape with invisible inhabitants.
  • Annapolis (Highland Beach)

    Microscopic mold on panels, 40x100”, 2018
  • Contamination 32

    Contamination 32, mold on panels, 70x70", 2013 The University of Maryland, College Park Stamp Student Union, Contemporary Art Permanent Collection, College Park, MD.
  • Contamination 32

    Contamination 32, mold on panels, 70x70", 2013 The University of Maryland, College Park Stamp Student Union, Contemporary Art Permanent Collection, College Park, MD.
  • Contamination 32

    Contamination 32, mold on panels, 70x70", 2013 The University of Maryland, College Park Stamp Student Union, Contemporary Art Permanent Collection, College Park, MD.
  • Contamination II

    Contamination II (detail), mold on panels, 60x110", 2012 at ConnerSmith Gallery, Washignton, DC
  • Contamination II (detail)

    Contamination II (detail), mold on panels, 60x110", 2012 at ConnerSmith Gallery, Washignton, DC

Contamination Series, 2011-2012

I use live microscopic mold that leaves physical inscriptions by direct contact on the surface of a paper or board, which creates a living platform. In Contamination Series, the surface of each panel is laced with graceful, brilliant mold until the entire surface is covered and patterned with circular borders. Then, I assembled these forms and shapes that mold produced, to create various visual references that can relate to both natural and human impacted landscapes. The forms have similarities to human-induced activities on the landscape. They create territories, boundaries, and borderlines and end up with conflicts on the picture surface.

"Balci gives living microbes a place to grow and organize themselves on specially prepared plates. The microorganisms, which normally are invisible to the naked eye, are made visible in these conditions. They create maps of “territories” as they battle for the food sources, and their behavior is disturbingly parallel to many scenarios of human conflict. The artist organizes and assembles the landscapes or maps that result from these natural migrations into abstract compositions that are limited in tonal variation but elegant in form." by Claudia Rousseau, Gazette.net, September 18, 2013. 
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  • Contamination I

    Contamination I, Mold on panels, 70x220", 2012 at University of Maryland Art Gallery, College Park, Maryland
  • Contamination I

    Contamination I, Mold on panels, 70x220", 2012 at University of Maryland Art Gallery, College Park, Maryland
  • Contamination I

    Contamination I, Mold on panels, 70x220", 2012 at University of Maryland Art Gallery, College Park, Maryland
  • Contamination I

    Contamination I, Mold on panels, 70x220", 2012 at University of Maryland Art Gallery, College Park, Maryland
  • Bound

    Bound, Mold on panels, each 11x14", 2011 at The Pearl Conard Art Gallery, The Ohio State University, Mansfield, Ohio
  • Bound

    Bound, Mold on panels, each 11x14", 2011 at The Pearl Conard Art Gallery, The Ohio State University, Mansfield, Ohio
  • Structures

    Structures, Mold on panels, 10x10" each, 2012 at Hamiltonian Gallery, Washington DC.
  • Structures

    Structures, Mold on panels, 10x10" each, 2012 at Hamiltonian Gallery, Washington DC.

Invisible Istanbul

Invisible Istanbul, 2021, Microscope slides and mold spores covered with epoxy resin

During my residency in Istanbul, I focused on Istanbul’s environmental problems. With a population of 16 million, Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey. Unfortunately, Istanbul has been experiencing environmental pressures due to population growth, industrialization, and rapid urbanization. As a result, Istanbul is experiencing increased air, water, and sea pollution. To address these challenges, I used mold spores as a destructive force. I used landscape images of Istanbul and interrupted the charming scenery with the mold spores isolated from its ground. This project creates a memory of Istanbul; documenting, preserving, and creating a historical record of living beings during my residency period.

  • Invisible Istanbul

    Invisible Istanbul, 2021, Microscope slides and mold spores covered with epoxy resin
  • Invisible Istanbul

    Invisible Istanbul, 2021, Microscope slides and mold spores covered with epoxy resin
  • Invisible Istanbul

    Invisible Istanbul, 2021, Microscope slides and mold spores covered with epoxy resin
  • Invisible Istanbul

    Invisible Istanbul, 2021, Microscope slides and mold spores covered with epoxy resin
  • Invisible Istanbul

    Invisible Istanbul, 2021, Microscope slides and mold spores covered with epoxy resin

Bordered World

Bordered World, Evolving mold in 2500 Petri dishes at Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY, 2014-15
 
Bordered World creates a competition for resources, territorial wars, and struggle for power and control among living organisms. In this project, I reference the fundamental, underlying social dilemmas and principles of our existence in an effort to understand and highlight social issues. My concepts are explored using living entities such as fungus and mold to recreate observable interactions and conflicts across the picture surface, where the outcomes reveal boundaries, edges and distinctive forms. In Bordered World, all vital resources are restricted. This limited environment makes microbes compete for resources, dominate a particular area or become invasive and endanger others. When they share the same living platform, a conflict for resources arise and eventually this results with a borderline. The behaviors of the microorganisms resemble human actions and motives. Visually representing the world map, these microbes act as metaphors for war and the human predicament.

"In Selin Balci’s bio-art installation Bordered World, 2,500 Petri dishes compose a three-dimensional kaleidoscopic world map representing the universal struggle for survival and dominance. Within each hand “painted” Petri dish, live molds and fungi are in an observable battle for limited resources.  Distinctive borders slowly form and new colonies develop during this microscopic feud."
Smack Mellon Curator 

The World

I used mold to specifically refer to human behavior, culture and society. The world's political map was re-created on a board with growth media (food), then different microorganisms were placed to represent each country. The work demonstrates human actions, form of power, political pressures, immigration, racialism and the dominance of superior countries.

"The map-based works present this phenomenon in stark terms, played out as geopolitical headlines ripped from the paper. The World depicts worlds run amok by war, disease or possibly famine. Faint pencil outlines suggest physical boundaries that the organisms push to the brink. Teaming and frothing, they have no “place” to go, and so they turn on one another in a game of brinkmanship, drawing boundaries with battlegrounds in an effort to gain the upper hand. The pieces are both eerie and transfixing, haunting yet mesmerizing, and their underlying message could be ignored offhand, if not for the fact that we see similar battles taking place today in regions as remote as Syria and as near as Dallas." Eric Hope for East City Art, 2014. 
 
 

  • The World

    The World (4th version), 2020, Mold spores on panel covered with epoxy resin, 24x40" I used mold to specifically refer to human behavior, culture and society. The world's political map was re-created on a board with growth media (food), then different microorganisms were placed to represent each country. The work demonstrates human actions, form of power, political pressures, immigration, racialism and the dominance of superior countries.
  • The World (5th version)

    The World (5th version), 2020, Mold spores on panel covered with epoxy resin, 16x20"
  • The World

    The World, video, originally 4:33min, 2010 I used mold to specifically refer to human behavior, culture, and society. The world's political map was re-created on a board with growth media (food), then different microorganisms were placed to represent each country. The work demonstrates human actions, forms of power, political pressures, immigration, racialism, and the dominance of superior countries.
  • The World (1st version)

    Mold spores on panel, 2012, 24x40"

Connect with Selin

website:

Selin's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.