Wallach Gallery, NYC
April - May 2023
Made in collaboration and with support from:
Alison Siegel, Elena Dudum, Kassia Karras, Char Jeré, Andrew Brehm, Shelly Silver, Nicola López, Sable Elyse Smith, Orlee Malka, Eddie Bartolomei, Jon Kessler, The Columbia Makerspace, Cody O’Ferrall, Bill Miller, Columbia shop team, Sarah Tortora, Rebekah Birkan, Jon Waites, JJ Peet, Kristen Lueck, Laura Mosquera, Madison Seely, Devin Lloyd, Ethan Fudge. Image credits: Anthony Maule, Alan Weiner, Char Jeré
Cella, Hanging structure of steel, silk, assorted plastics and bioplastic, 8x8x11’ 

Cella is the latin word for small room. It is also provides the source of the word for a biological cell.

Cella has a sheltering shape. The dome form is old, recalling yurts: portable circular dwellings used in Asia for over 3000 years. The curved armature is like some combination of the evenly spaced decorative geometries of a greenhouse, combined with the awkward protective legs of the spider sculptures by Louise Bourgeois. Both provide protection for growth within, but bring up questions of care and constriction, freedom and control.

She is made up of smaller parts. As with vegetal structures, such as female pinecones, folded scales or bracts are positioned in relation to one another without gaps to receive the most sunlight. The hard-shelled woody case of a female pinecone serves also to protect its seeds. Like an armor – an interlocking phalanx of shields forming a wall through which a mass of spears points to the enemy - there is protection in numbers. The whole works together to form a secure, protective unit over the structure. What kind of positive or negative domination can be achieved through this tactic of collective defense?

Her opening and closing mirrors the seed-bearing pinecone’s ability to respond to changes in humidity: “scales gape open when it is dry, releasing the cone’s seeds… when it is damp the scales close up”. She is fertile, a being in tune with her natural cycles. She ebbs and flows with the changes in her environment, allowing her seeds to have the best chance at survival.  

© Meaghan Elyse Lueck 2023