After looking at Mitra Fabian‘s work, it’s not surprising to learn that she got her start fabricating sculpture for the HBO series “Six Feet Under.” She works with everyday materials creating forms that mimic or hint at organic growths. Often resembling organs or tumors, these “growths” are seductively grotesque, tactile, beautiful and playful.
Her impeccably clean studio is full of small, seemingly medical instruments, looking more like a doctor’s office than a typical artist’s studio. Working in a pseudo-scientific manner, Fabian painstakingly pieces individual lengths of tape together to create bulbous forms reminiscent of growths or cancerous mutations. She finds her labor-intensive process to be deeply meditative.
Spark checks in with Fabian as she creates “Multiplicity” and “Ventilate” for an exhibition at the San Jose Institute for Contemporary Art. The former resembles hatched insect eggs and is composed of casts made of white glue. The latter is a sculptural experiment made from window blinds, and it highlights Fabian’s signature awareness of how materials relate to the human body.
Fabian aims to shift the way viewers relate to common materials, giving them a new understanding of what those materials can do. Her fascination with mysterious biological forms is a reflection of her personal relationship with loved ones who have battled cancer. Although she doesn’t intend for every viewer to connect on this level, her work does evoke an eerie sense of isolation and contemplation.
Los Angeles native Mitra Fabian earned an M.F.A. in sculpture from California State University, Northridge. She teaches sculpture at Sacramento City College during the week and returns to her art studio in San Jose on weekends. Her work has been exhibited internationally.