Sarah Mikolowsky

I think the first time the word detritus stuck to the wall of my skull and slid it’s way down into my vocabulary was in the context of aquatic biology. I was taking field samples of course particular organic matter (or otherwise detritus) from a stream bed so I could bring them back to the lab and count various numbers of insect larvae, rotifers, vorticella and other tiny creatures in order to assess the health of the stream ecology.

Something about detritus – which is really debris of any sort / scrap, litter, flotsam – being a habitat – and then being able to study that habitat to learn something much larger. I suppose I’ve always thought of art-making as a sort of pseudo-science. Every piece is an investigation – an arrangement of elements that yields all matter of information if one is interested enough in the process.

I use detritus in my work – not only because i’m a gone-green, eco-concious, farm-to-table, earth mama, namaste planeteer – but also because I’m fascinated by the materials’ function of reference to a time and place. the object made becomes a portrait – a study of the present that has come through my lens.

I’m brand new to Philadelphia. I’ve visited cities, but I’ve never lived in one. Actually, I’ve lived my adult life until very recently in places that have a fashionable white agrarian escapist utopia vibe – and while it was very cool to learn an encylopedic amount of information about homestead skills and self-sufficiency while feeling safe and nurtured in my artistic endeavors, I find myself knowing nothing of urban life or social (in)justice. 

In short – I intend to use detritus (in sculpture & printmaking) to create a self-referential visual language that can deepen my own understanding of the reality of this time and place. 

Peep her work on the web at or on Instagram @aunty_beast.