Sandra Selig reveals the intricate cosmos surrounding us


Sandra Selig has always worked with humble materials—thread, light, paper, salt, steel and wood—arranged in highly diverse forms. The Brisbane-based artist unearths the hidden forces of our universe, examining everything from the arrangement of spiderwebs to celestial forms.

The expansiveness of Selig’s practice is tackled in the largest exhibition of her work to date, Exploring Giant Molecules. Spanning two decades of work, it includes thread installations tracing architectural space, neon-sprayed spiderwebs mounted on paper, and performative salt drawings captured on sheets of steel.

Selig’s considered use of organic and inorganic materials, which interact with each other as miniature examples of macrocosmic systems, lies at the core of her practice. “Her work has a certain sensibility and refinement to it,” says curator Hamish Sawyer, “which she disrupts by using natural materials and processes.”

Selig’s work has a similarly important relationship with space, requiring a new site-specific approach from the exhibition’s previous installation at the University of Sunshine Coast (USC) Art Gallery. “Much of Sandra’s work is contingent on the architecture of the gallery,” explains Sawyer. Such attention to space also links to Selig’s highly iterative practice, with Selig having multiple ongoing works.

Sound, as a vehicle for mapping space and form, also features prominently in the new installation, as well as a live performance by Selig and Leighton Craig, who are collaborators in the experimental music duo Primitive Motion.

Across these multiple forms, Selig is showing viewers things which are often intangible. As Sawyer says, “I want to acknowledge Sandra’s significance as an established practitioner who works with humble materials in an interdisciplinary and singular way.”

Exploring Giant Molecules
Sandra Selig
University of New South Wales Galleries
27 August—20 November

This article was originally published in the September/October 2022 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Preview Words by Zali Matthews