Fifth Floor is pleased to present a show of two groups of photographic works by Bay Area artist Carol Selter. Science Pets is a series of prints that follows the lives of western tussock moths being raised in an artificial environment by a biology graduate student. Finding pathos in the attempts by the insects to live normally in such surroundings, Selter personified the doomed caterpillars and moths to which she grew attached. Her images highlight the innate human tendency to care about specific individuals even when we would be unresponsive to an amorphous group of the same creatures.
R.I.P. is a series of printed fabric sculptures sewn as pillows. These reference the final resting places of dead animals being prepared for skeletal specimens by a dermestid beetle colony. The front of each sculpture shows the undisturbed, weathered cotton batting placed around each carcass. Only by turning over the object do we find what is hidden beneath. Thus, the process of discovery experienced by the artist is reenacted by viewers and ultimately owners of the work. Conversely, with this construction Selter also permits us to not look, to ignore mortality and hide the earthly remains of these creatures in a type of reverse memento mori.
Carol Selter was born in Los Angeles and currently lives and works in Santa Cruz. Her work has been shown at Gallery 16 in San Franscisco, SFMOMA, San Francisco State University, Sheppard Gallery at UN Reno, Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, and the Sonoma County Museum. She is the recipient of a SECA award in electronic media and a Phelan Art-Photography award. Selter received her MFA in Photography from San Jose State University’s School of Art and Design after receiving both a BA in Botany and a MA in Biology from SJSU. This is Selter’s first exhibition in Los Angeles.