Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Working with the Insects (& other animals)

And while we are on the topic of insects (Were we? Oh dear!), how about an artists who collaborate with insects, rather than using their, um, corpses?

Duprat's aquatic caddis fly larvae, with cases incorporating gold, opal, and turquoise, among other materials. Photos Jean-Luc Fournier. via Cabinet and boyfrendo

French artist-naturalist Hubert Duprat collaborates with caddis fly larvae. Like their relatives the butterfly, they develop their wings while in silk cocoons, but they often incorporate random items for strength, like grains of sand, minerals, bits of plant, fish bone or shell- or random things they find lying around. Duprat carefully removes these, but provides them alternative media like gold spangles, pearls, semi- and precious stones. The larvae make their choices, using different available objects in their aquarium, or re-purpose previous blinged-out cocoons. Duprat traces his work to 19th century entomologists, who similarly tried introducing foreign objects to insects. The work straddles that interesting art-science divide.

American artist-beekeper Hilary Berseth works with bees. Using a framework of wire and wave, he coaxes or suggests to the colony how to construct their hives.

Programmed Hive #6, 2008
Honeybee comb on board mounted on hive super, wood, urethane foam, wire, metal, paint, UV lacquer
24 x 24 x 48 inches (61 x 61 x 121.9 cm)

Programmed Hive #7, 2008
Honeybee comb on board mounted on hive super, wood, urethane, foam, wire, metal, paint, UV lacquer
47.5 x 29 x 26.5 inches (120.7 x 73.7 x 67.3 cm)

Canadian artist Aganetha Dyck also works with bees; she is interested in, "ramifications all living beings would experience should honeybees disappear from earth". She leaves objects in hives to be covered in honeycomb - a different sort of collaboration (a little more like Duprat, perhaps).

Aganetha Dyck, Queen, Beework on figurine of Queen Elizabeth II, 2007, 15 x 10 x 8", Michael Gibson Gallery, London, Ontario.

Sports Night in Canada: Helmet 2000, helmet, honeycomb, Kelowna Art Gallery

Shoes altered by bees

She also works with her son Richard Dyck to produce digital scans, like this one, of hives:

You may also enjoy the Finch&Pea article about artist Elsabé Dixon's collaboration with moths.

If you are interested in artwork by animals, check out Ottawa's SAW gallery. Currently, they are showing an exhibition called Animal House: Works of Art Made by Animals billed as the “first ever critical overview of animal art.” The artists include dogs, cats, elephants, chimpanzees, gorillas and a turtle.

David Ferris Sela paints by the temple 2008 © David Ferris

Kira Ayn Varszegi Koopa at work 2007

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