Molly Valentine Dierk's Instagram: @mvdierks

Skin Hunger

Exhibition Date: February 8th - March 13th, 2021
Artist Talk: Sunday, February 28th, 2021 @ 10 am CST via Zoom

The tiny futuristic forest-scapes in Skin Hunger are created during a therapeutic collection process, where I go on walks and hikes to gather trash and organic materials that fascinate me: tiny mushrooms, branches, weathered pieces of plastic. I combine these with mass-produced materials, usually products that modify or mediate the body. The work explores observations about personal relationships, microcosms of larger shared experiences. I confront disorientation in the work: the disorientation of moving between urban environments and rural environments, technology-moderated relationships and embodied experiences. The onset of COVID has made the work more therapeutic and more prescient: the very machines and methods of production that compounded ecological change, introducing a pandemic, are also what keeps us alive and connected.  On a deeper level, the work is about my struggle with control and illusion, and how this plays out in personal relationships. I’m also fascinated by how these themes are mirrored in human relationships to nature (control) and in nature itself (illusion – camouflage, mating dances, threatening posturing etc.).  Skin Hunger is not just a meditation on the impact of COVID, but a musing on the future of collective human experience, increasingly mediated by machines: a way of processing how technology creates a different landscape of social distance, and natural connection, a push and pull between alienation and intimacy. 

Curatorial Statement:

In Skin Hunger,Molly Valentine Dierks explores human connection through biomes constructedfrom natural plant life and various synthetic materials. The works cleverlybrings up issues of technology and nature and our current state of demise. Dierksdissect stems from different trees and conjoin them. This unnaturalconglomerate of plant bodies anchors themselves on mounds of inorganicmaterials. It appears like the welfare of these beings can only be sustainedand nourished by a combination of human and natural interventions. Thisacceptance of the inorganic as “organic” is prevalent in Dierks’ pieces.

What is most interesting is the orchestration of the mainplant bodies with the migration of small artificial pieces. The way the treesare positioned and their accompanying accessories demonstrate their social needsand desires. The minute bits are extensions of the trees and look like a formof communication. As these tiny cut up plastics move from one “island” to thenext, the exchange of information occurs. No longer using natural roots torelay messages, technology replaces them as the de facto language.

Despite our reliance on the synthetic, we still yearn forbodies that we can touch and feel. The pandemic has left us unsatisfied withtechnology and realized that nothing can replace true connections. As we continue to growon these increasing artificial fields, there will always be these remnants thatremind us of our human nature.


Molly Valentine Dierks is a visual artist + designer. Dierks’ practice is interdisciplinary in nature, combining a background in sculpture + design, studies in psychology, disability theory, gender theory + architecture with her love of different media [from sound to poetry and literature to dance]. Through her detailed installations that merge the formal languages of technology and nature, she explores evolving landscapes of intimacy and connection. As a designer, she uses different technologies (laser cutter, graphic design) to create products that indulge in the playful sensuality of form, texture, + color.

Molly Valentine Dierks has participated in residencies nationally and internationally (North Carolina, Minnesota, Finland, China, and Japan) and been in solo + group exhibitions nationally (NYC, Detroit, LA, Portland, Dallas, Fort Worth) + internationally (South Korea, Russia). Her work has been a part of public installations in Detroit + Franconia Sculpture Park + included in exhibitions by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, University of Michigan Museum of Modern Art, Kunsthalle Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art, Fort Worth Community Arts Center, 500X Gallery in Dallas, Texas, the Czong Institute of Contemporary Art (South Korea) and the LA Center for Digital Art, among others. Her work has been featured in Southern Magazine, MOCAD’s 'Post Industrial Complex', the University of Michigan's site on digital media artists, the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art's Art Yellow Book, Designboom, Opumo Fashion Magazine + Peripheral Visions Arts, + more.

Dierks strongly believes in the power of creative community to amplify different voices: as an educator, mentor, and curator, she feels privileged + proud to be able to work with a diverse spectrum of artists + designers.

Her studio is currently in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. 

Recording of Artist Talk:

Netherworld Sanctuary

Medium: Branches, moss, resin, found plastic container and lid, syringe, rubber brush bristles, stuffed animal fur, plastic toy, carved plastic, nail polish, wax, baby bottle nipple tips, blue plastic brush bristles

Size: Variable, tallest tree is 14”

Twilight Sleep

Medium: Branches, mushrooms, wax, caviar beads, insulation foam, plastic brush bristles, rubber brush bristles, melted plastic, pill capsules

Size: Variable, tallest tree is 17”

Skin Hunger

Medium: Branches, mushroom, found lids, wax, flocking, carved plastic, rubber brush bristles, plastic brush bristles, wax, crushed Tums, stuffed animal hair, Styrofoam, sugar crystals, resin, earbuds

Size: Variable, tallest tree is 14”

Dream Machine

Medium: Branches, miniature mushrooms, hidden bubble machine (with button), containers, baby bottle nipple, styrofoam, wax, crushed pills, flocking, rubber brush bristles, earbuds

Size: Variable, tallest tree is 17”

Eva and Sophie

Medium: Branches, moss, mushrooms, found lids, plastic, earbuds, Styrofoam, flocking, carved plastic, wax, blue tubes from water balloon toy, carved pink plastic

Size: Variable, tallest tree is 14”

Two Spirit

Medium: Branches, moss, mushrooms/fungus, found plastic lids, rubber thimbles, plastic tubes, baby bottle lid, flocking, melted doll parts, plastic bristles, rubber bristles, wax

Size: Variable, tallest tree is 16”

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