Remember swabbing the spout of the hallway drinking fountain in high-school biology class? Remember wiping the swab on a sterile petri dish? Remember incubating it and watching, in horror, as the trails of that benign little swab grew into forests of sinister, determined-to-reproduce germ growths? If you’d not been repulsed by the health implications for the rest of the hygiene-impaired student body, you might have been able to appreciate the beauty of the blooming, organic patterns in shades of taupe and neon. Selin Balci works solely in these microbial media, making kaleidoscopic mandalas, maps, and marbled tiles from mold spores and other living things we can only see in denominations of millions. Balci’s solo show will be something of a safari in miniature—she calls the micro-organisms that make up her work “performers,” as they hasten to populate her papers and glass, pushing against the boundaries of the others’ colonies. It’s nature at its most fertile, in a form we rarely get to see, manipulated into things of striking elegance. Remember the high school drinking fountain? That was living art. Sept. 12–Oct. 31 at Honfleur Gallery. Free.

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