By her own account, Beth Galston (SMVisS ’81) is a sculptor, an architect, a structural engineer, and a material investigator. A former student at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Galston’s immersive architectural environments draw their inspiration from the complex patterns, shapes, and phenomena of the natural world. Her process is rooted in repetition, exploration and improvisation, as she experiments with form and material. “The main way that I think in the studio is by making little models,” she says. “I like to keep my hands busy. I would say I doodle, but I doodle with materials.”
As the daughter of a professor of biology, she grew up going on nature walks with her father. “As a young child, on some Saturday mornings I would have the treat of going into my father’s lab and pouring chemicals from one flask to another and watching the light going through them and the color mix. That’s part of my DNA,” she says. Her work often explores the beauty of light and space. For her most recent Luminous Garden series, she cast acorn caps in resin, and, after hooking them up to yellow LED lights, suspended the caps in a fragile entanglement of wires. The result is a compelling combination of the natural and the industrial that melds her early exploration of human-made, rectilinear forms at MIT with the wonder of the organic.