Visual Arts Student Sasha Fishman in Solo Show at Below Grand Gallery

Mădălina Telea Borteș
October 20, 2023

For Visual Arts student Sasha Fishman, artmaking is found both in nature and in the laboratory. 

Until October 21, 2023, Below Grand Gallery is presenting Implosion Paradigm Incoming, a solo show of newly created ornate and weathered sculptures that pump, receive, and redirect water. 

The sculptures in Implosion Paradigm Incoming—which Fishman created from an extensive range of biological and technological materials such as hot spring earth and glazes, thermoplastic, 3D printed flowforms, and aluminum—glimmer, move, and propose a reconsideration of artistic materials. 

“Her fountains often take on the spindly architectures of stalactites and stalagmites, of karst-dremelled grottoes, of sporous desert basins, of the spines of fish churning deep within oceanic waves,” Andrew Woolbright, the gallerist and Editor-at-Large at The Brooklyn Rail writes in and exhibition essay for Implosion Paradigm Incoming.

In her practice, Fishman “combs through bio machines and natural mechanics,” often utilizing “both wet and dry intelligences.” Many of the sculptures in the exhibition foreground the bio-degradory and inventive possibilities of materials, such as hagfish secretions, which Fishman turns into bioplastics in order to reinforce other, more fragile organic materials, such as Reishi mushroom mycelium and rye or mica. 

An example of this feat of bioengineering meeting sculpture is prevalent in Some days I’m edible (93” x 21” x 21,” reishi mycelium, firewood, rye, wood, cardboard, egg yolk, tanned salmon skin, chitosan, 2023), where a mushroom top unfolds upward from its base as though rising from deep beneath the earth. 

Besides leading to sculptures that viscerally affect the senses, Fishman’s probative experiments constantly “investigate the ways of seeing inscribed by the authoritative gaze of laboratories and design firms,” and make possible an expansive model for “the shape and form that future technologies will take.” Indeed, as a student at Columbia, Fishman has collaborated with several campus laboratories and scientists and has been commissioned by BMW and Shira to produce new bioplastics. 

Sasha Fishman (b. 1995, Baltimore, MD) is a sculptor and researcher based in New York where she is currently a Sculpture MFA candidate at Columbia University. Working with materials such as hagfish slime, algae, and cicada shells, Sasha's work investigates marine biomaterial extraction, toxicology and genetic engineering as points for critical analysis and mechanisms for sculpting. Sasha has exhibited her work at Below Grand (New York), Hesse Flatow (New York), Navel LA (Los Angeles), RESORT (Baltimore, MD), the Visual Arts Center (Austin, TX), and has been a research fellow at Caltech (Pasadena, CA). She has presented her work, run workshops and given talks at Genspace, Navel LA, UCLA, UDenver, UColorodo Boulder, Kenyon College, Caltech, and CSULB.