link to Superbug


Sept. 25th - Oct. 31st 2009
Greenville College
Greenville, IL,

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May 29 – September 4, 2009
Belger Arts Center
Kansas City, Missouri

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March 12 – June 14, 2009
Haggerty Museum of Art,
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Current Tendencies: Ten Artists from Wisconsin


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  A Worm's Eye View consists of the artist’s designed and hand printed wallpaper upon which real insects are pinned. The pattern suggests layers like those of a forest floor covered with years of fallen leaves and debris. It is densest at the bottom and transforms or lightens as it extends higher up the wall. Towards the top of the wall are randomly placed circular frames with convex glass. While the frames will be visible from the ground their contents are not. The viewer is invited to use a vintage telescope in the center of the room to see what is held within each frame.  

Mar 24 - May 10, 2009
James Watrous Gallery,
Madison, Wisconsin, USA

High Honors: An Exhibition of Artwork by the 2008 Wisconsin Arts Board Visual Arts Fellows

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Jan 30 - May 17, 2009
Craft Alliance
St Louis, Missouri, USA

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Readers of the New Testament may recall that John the Baptist survived in the desert on a diet of locusts and honey. While this conjures a mental image of honey comb and wriggling, unwilling grasshoppers, biblical scholars believe that this should not be taken literally. In all likelihood he ate date honey, a puree created from crushed dates and bread made from flour of the bean of the locust tree.


 “A plague of locusts” is another biblical reference and often used to describe a crowded threatening situation. Locusts are in fact a swarming type of grasshopper that travels great distances and leave mass destruction of  the crops they ravenously consume on their journey. I grew up in Niagara Falls, Ontario and having no experience with such insects I always thought that locusts must be cicadas. To me they seemed frightening because their screeching was so loud that there must have been thousands secreted in our garden. I found their hidden presence ominous.


Fear is a common reaction people have to insects. They are so small compared to humans yet their appearance, movement and presumed destructiveness causes us deep apprehension. Culturally, insects are a sign of dirtiness and disease. For the past nine years, I have been creating installations composed of insects pinned directly to a wall in repeating patterns which reference both textiles and wallpaper. When viewers enter one of my installations, they are greeted with something they think they know, that is, a patterned wallpaper which could be in anyone's home. However upon closer examination, one discovers that it is entirely made up of insects.


For the most part our hysteria over insects in unwarranted. Insects play a important role in the health our our environment from the decompositon of organic matter to the pollination of flowers which in turn produce fruit. Nearly 70% of the food we consume is the direct result of insect pollination. Of course another insect product is honey, the nectar of the gods. Honey has not only been consumed but through history has held deep cultural significance and a mulitude of uses. Brides have dipped their fingers in it. Corpses have been embalmed with it. It has even be used as a currency.


Locusts and Honey alludes to culture, history and the environment utilizing two things that are inextricably linked.



Feb 6 - Mar 8, 2009
La Crosse Gallery
University of Wisconsin


center closeup swarm detail overall rightside
swarm side
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  The six artists exhibiting use nature as subject matter and the point of departure for their respective imagery. Cho utilizes the structure of plants in her installations. Another Madison artist, Jennifer Angus, incorporates hundreds of entomological specimens. Jeff MIllikan, Minneapolis, photographs and documents anomalies in bee hives and culture. The digital images of Sally Kuzma, Milwaukee, focus on the patterning of seed pods and plant materials. Madison artist Stephen Hilyard’s video work begins with the imagery of a morning glory which transports the viewer into an imaginary world. The graphite drawings of Lynn Bollman, Minneapolis, are an intense study of the surface and bark of mature tree structures.  

Jan 25 - Mar 8, 2009
James Watrous Gallery
Madison, Wisc, USA


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SuperBug is a collaborative multi-media print project created by well-known Madison artists Jennifer Angus and John Hitchcock. In this installation that examines the fragility of life and the often deadly beauty of natural forms, the artists combine hand-drawn images of insects with screen-printed layers of lacy patterns composed of viruses and diseased cells.

  Artists and scientists share a fascination with forms and patterns found in nature. The spiral form of a conch shell was the basis for the formula developed during the Renaissance for divine proportion, or the "golden section." Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Durer, and Piet Mondrian used this formula as a compositional element in their work. More recently, mathematicians, architects, and artists have explored connections between certain growth patterns seen in nature and the Fibonacci sequence of numbers. The elegant spiral patterns of seeds in a sunflower head or a pinecone correspond to the Fibonacci sequence.

  In this exhibition, Jenny Angus and John Hitchcock use images of the lacey patterns of viruses and diseased cells revealed under the microscope as a way to examine our fears of a pandemic caused by "superbugs" such as the Asian influenza virus. The artists remind us that life remains fragile in the 21st century despite our ever-increasing scientific knowledge. They also remind us that deadly things can be beautiful and that artists can use the power of beauty to present difficult ideas in a way that is visually compelling.

  Pattern becomes multi-layered in SuperBug. On one level, Angus and Hitchcock use the patterns created by the viruses as an overall design element, much as you would use pattern in wallpaper. On another level, these patterns echo the patterns of disease spread in a global epidemic.  
Jennifer Angus' recent artwork has been in the form of installations where thousands of real insects are pinned directly to the wall in continuous patterns, mimicking wallpaper. Madison arts viewers will remember these disturbing and beautiful insect installations from the last Wisconsin Triennial at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and from Angus' 2007 exhibition at the Chazen Museum of Art. These works allude to the unseen world of dust mites, germs, and bacteria, friendly and unfriendly. Issues concerning the quality of life arise, including home as a safe and comfortable place, AIDS, and other devastating diseases. In addition, these works draw attention to our attitudes toward nature, the land, and, in particular, the obsessive need to own and exploit. Angus is a professor in the design studies area in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

John Hitchcock's current artwork utilizes images of mythological hybrid creatures and military weaponry based on memories and stories from his childhood in the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma where he grew up next to Fort Sill, a U.S. field artillery military base. Hitchcock explores notions of good, evil, death, and cycles of life. His depictions of beasts, animals, and machines act as metaphors for human behavior and cycles of violence. Hitchcock is a professor in the art department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.




Nov 4, 2008 to June 14, 2009
The Newark Museum
Newark NJ USA

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A Site Specific Installation in the Ballantine House at the Newark Museum



John and Jeannette Ballantine moved into their new home in 1885. Of there eight children only four had survived past infancy. The youngest of the surviving children, Alice and Percy, joined their parents in the new abode. It is a little known fact that both children were amateur entomologists. They began collecting insects in the garden of the house. Percy eventually became an avid collector of specimens particularly from Papua New Guinea which held a mysterious fascination for him. Within the house one room was dedicated to his insect collection which he arranged in elaborate and fantastic patterns which he felt showed their true beauty. These patterns were not only displayed in shadow boxes hung upon the wall but adhered directly to the wall creating an elaborate wallpaper. Steamer trunks containing insects littered the room and even the linen cupboard was taken over and converted into a specimen cabinet!



Alice Ballantine also had a room dedicated to insects but she had little interest in the study of insects. She was captivated by the colour and shapes and the immense variety of species so cleverly adapted to their environment. She was an imaginative child who loved stories. She day dreamed of the lives of insects underground and upon trees not unlike the characters of Beatrix Potter's books - animals who had families, lives and concerns just as people did. After her marriage Alice began constructing dioramas in which she recreated famous scenes of fairy tales with insects as lead characters. Alice had four children and rather than reading from a book she moved from scene to scene telling the story slightly differently each time.



Launch date
Wed Sept 10, 2008
Textile Museum of Canada
Toronto Ontario Canada


The Textile Museum of Canada, the Dennos Museum Center at Northwestern Michigan College and the Musée d'art de Joliette are proud to present the first solo catalogue of Jennifer Angus, a multidisciplinary artist who is also a teacher, writer and curator. This catalogue documents three remarkable installations in the series A Terrible Beauty: "Creature Comforts," at the Textile Museum of Canada from November 26, 2005 through May 14, 2006; "Compulsion and Repulsion," at the Dennos Museum Center from December 10, 2006 through March 4, 2007; and "To Have and to Hold," at the Musée d'art de Joliette from September 23, 2007 through January 6, 2008.


  To purchase click here:  

January 24 - March 8, 2008
On the Street Gallery
Memphis College of Art
Memphis Tennesee USA

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