Sensory art

Giant silkworms inhabit university gallery

Artist Mei-ling Hom’s large-scale installation, “Silkworm Grind,” offers a multi-sensory experience at the University Gallery through November 13.

“Silkworm Grind,” 2000, silk, aluminum, spice, 11 x 15 x 24 feet

The installation was created in collaboration with the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia and consists of three large-scale aluminum silkworms suspended from the ceiling. Each form is sheathed in colorful silk and finished with a transparent layer of sheer pastel fabric. A blend of five spices emits a pungent aroma as the forms slowly gyrate.

From the tactile richness of the materials and the visual interest of the shifting pieces, to the olfactory effect of the spices and the quiet hum of the motor, Hom’s work references the patient and detailed daily work of the silkworm, similar to that of women throughout much of Asia.