October 11 - November 28, 2018

 
 

Allen Priebe Art Gallery, University of Wisconsin
OshKosh, Wisconsin, USA

 
 
 
 
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March 17 - August 26, 2018

 
 

Shelburne Museum
Shelburne, Vermont, USA

 
 
 
 

 

I took inspiration for my installation from James Sharp’s painted fireboard. The richness and detail reminded me of a style of painting known as memento mori (Latin for ‘remember that you will die’). Such works gained popularity in the 17th century and are considered artistic or symbolic reminders of the inevitability of death. The expression “memento mori” developed with the growth of Christianity, which emphasized heaven, hell, and salvation of the soul in the afterlife. At first glance a memento mori painting might appear to be a lush still life filled with colourful flowers and fruit, however upon closer examination insects (and other macabre or distastful things) are often depicted, burrowing into a rotting apple or the like, a metaphorical representation of decay and death. Culturally, insects have for some time been a sign of dirtiness, decay and disease.

Yet, in working with insects as my main material I am cognizant of the important role they play in the environment. We need insects to survive. They pollinate flowers that in turn produce fruit. Seventy percent of the food we consume is the result of insect pollination. The world is starting to wake up to the devastating tragedy that awaits us all if colony collapse, the death of millions and millions of honeybees goes on unabated. The role of insects in decomposing matter is not to be underestimated either. Our world would become a massive trash heap without insects and the human race would no longer exist. In many respects, our ability to survive is closely tied to the well-being of insects!

Upon the wall within frames covered by a deep dome are what I have come to think of as little worlds, almost like those that exist within a snow globe. My delight in these stems from the opportunity to develop a story without words which others will interpret as they wish. In most of the frames the insects appear to be standing on their hind legs, a position which to some degree anthropomorphizes them. Frankly, my goal in doing this is to make them more likable and relatable – insects have families and jobs such as laborer, solider, etc. There’s even royalty to be found in the “Queen Bee”. The fear we have of insects is generally unwarranted. Their role in the environment is vital. They don’t deserve a blast of “Raid” or a beating with a flyswatter.

 
     
 
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February 10 - May 13, 2018

 
 

Hudson River Museum
Yonkers, NewYork, USA

 
 
 
 
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