Donna Hamil-Talman





In recent years my attention has been drawn to how we humans affect our planet, and my past projects addressed how plastics destroy life in our oceans. In this new project I focus on solutions. In 2011 Yale University molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry students and their professor traveled to the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador and discovered a fungus that eats only plastic. Much of the world’s plastic trash winds up buried in landfills, where it can remain, largely unaltered, for generations, so the idea that a fungus can devour plastic is exhilarating.

In keeping with the organicity of the topic, in which I integrate imprints of mushroom spores and impressionistic drawings of mycelia, the colors come from nature, the art is on handmade Japanese paper, and the medium is primarily encaustic, composed of beeswax and resin from trees. Also included in this series are paintings using packed mushroom material as a substrate.

Such projects offer optimism in a time when it is in short supply and urge us to continue to think creatively about solutions to one of our major world issues. They heighten attention to the ways in which we must keep making livable the very creation we need for life itself.



My expressionistic paintings address the way life–of the land, sea or body– evolve, and is increasingly concerned with changes resulting from human interaction. The monotypes are related to research done by a Yale microbiologist who discovered a fungi which eats plastic. I utilize natural materials and appreciate the way processes of encaustic mimic those in geology and make visible the passage of time.

Hamil Talman has had solo exhibitions in Art Basel (Miami), Venice (Italy), NYC, Houston, Seattle, Chicago, and Boston, and her art is published in La Fotografia (Barcelona), The Book of Alternative Photo Processes (Christopher James), Creative Vision (Jeremy Webb), and is in numerous collections. Hamil Talman earned her M.A. at Clark University and has done several international residencies and received multiple grants. Her work has been described in the Chicago Tribune as “…her nearly chaotic but gently poetic compositions resembling patterns on a rock face or an old wall.”