Katie Colford


Core II Studio, Critic: Miriam Peterson
Spring 2020

Open-pit mining is one of the most harmful methods of oil extraction. Large tracts of land are cleared of trees, vegetation, and rocks and quarried for bitumen-laced sands (called tar sands) from which oil is extracted and refined. The clearing process removes what is called the overburden that lies above the oil-rich sands. These plaster studies investigate this process, seeking to collapse scales—from the molecule to the landscape—as a commentary on the ghostly nature of this extractive process.

Aerial view of Canadian open pit mine (source).

Microscopic structure of Athabasca oil sands, microphotograph by Koichi Takamura (source).