Magdolene Dykstra ( she/her )

Artist Statement

Using sculpture, installation, and mark-making, my work meditates on the unfathomable magnitude of humanity, exploring the tension between individuality and the multiplicity of our species, the singular and the universal, visibility and anonymity, order and disorder, growth and decay. At the route of my practice is the question: what is the role of the individual within the horde? My installations and mark-making toggle back and forth between minimizing and asserting the presence of an individual. My practice draws on the lineage of the 19th century Romantic artists who used their paintings to evoke the sublime by reminding the viewer of their diminutive status in relation to grand landscapes. In contrast to the Euro-masculinist sublime of the 19th century which focused on defining, containing, and dominating the Other (including nature, women, and people of colour), my work emerges out of a feminist sublime which disrupts the fantasy of a sovereign self, separate from and in control of the Other. Specifically, I locate the sublime in the multiplicity of our species, our interdependence on one another and on the Earth. Employing an aesthetic of accumulation, my sculptures and installations draw inspiration from microbiology and other overlooked, even discarded, landscapes. I aim to create a visual experience of our interconnectedness to beings (both human and non-human) we may never know, to break open the illusion of a discrete, independent “I” that exists separately from “them”.


After studying biology and visual arts in undergraduate degrees, she received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Magdolene has participated in residencies at the Medalta Historic Clay District, the Watershed Center for Arts and Crafts and Concordia University. Magdolene has been awarded several grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. Notable exhibitions include a site-specific installation at the Gardiner Museum (Toronto, ON), a solo exhibitions at the Jane Hartsook Gallery (New York, NY) and A-B Projects (Los Angeles, CA).