Artist and Gustavus Adolphus College alum CV Peterson ’10 opens Mykitas Epoch – Fungal Expansion within the Plastisphere at the Schaefer Art Gallery on September 4. While the title may sound a bit complicated, it really boils down to two things: plastic and fungi.
In their exhibit, CV explores an imaginative futuristic world following the decline of humanity where the lasting legacy of the human species is plastic. Peterson cites the progression of plastic infiltrating every part of life on this planet, even merging with the crust of the planet and entering drinking water. While plastic is ever expanding its reach however, various types of fungi are developing the ability to consume it. In Peterson’s imagined future, the fungi have taken over the world.
“This is a story about fungi, made with fungi, and for a futuristic fungal audience,” Peterson says. The sculptures throughout the exhibit are created with a fungus that is actively being used as an alternative to styrofoam by large companies including IKEA and Dell. The fungal material was donated by Ecovative Design to Peterson for the exhibit.
Peterson chose to use humor and sarcasm in their art because of the belief that this would help connect more people with their work. They say there are many different levels to appreciate the art from simply the aesthetic to a very deep, intellectual response. “I am taking big issues that I don’t have answers to, that the world is struggling to find answers to, where there’s no quick fix.” Peterson says. “Who knows what individual is walking through here who will get inspired and change things? This might set them off on a creative adventure and who knows what spark this might ignite?”.
Peterson is no stranger to exploring the crossover between art and environmental degradation. They have exhibited work at galleries worldwide including in South Korea, China, and Europe. Currently Peterson is teaching a course at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire focused on the intersection of art and science.
Mykitas Epoch will be on display in the Schaefer Art Gallery through October 18. The gallery is open everyday 8 a.m.–10 p.m. There will be a special reception from 5–7 p.m. on September 24 in conjunction with Nobel Conference 55, “Climate Changed: Facing Our Future”. Peterson will give a gallery talk at 5:30 p.m. that evening. The exhibit is free and open to the public.