Sunday, October 4, 2015


I have neglected to post images of a piece I made to apply for an exhibit at the Paul Robeson Gallery in New Jersey about the other creatures we regard as "undesirable" who live in and around our homes.

In my description of the piece, I wrote: While we may imagine that our homes are an "inside" that is separated from the "outside" world, not only is there a permeable barrier between one and the other, but of course our human lives are intertwined with (and continuous with, evolutionarily and ecologically speaking) the lives of the other living things on the planet.

Insects (and other  invertebrates) are fascinating. Many of them go through metamorphosis, from a fertilized egg, through a larval stage (or stages), to their adult state. In many cases they live in different environments in each of these stages -- developing in water and then emerging as flying adults (mosquitoes and dragonflies); developing from eggs laid underground, and later emerging as ground-dwelling or flying insects (some beetles and wasps); or even "ballooning" through the air on wisps of silk, as some newly-hatched land-dwelling spiders do. We may encounter these creatures when we are digging in our gardens, swimming in a pond, walking down the street, or sitting on our porches.

I have made oil portraits of many different small creatures on metal disks of various sizes, arranging them in three strata -- underground, aboveground, and in the air. These images feature a variety of "creepy crawlies," like spiders and slugs, in addition to insects (that are distinguished by having six legs and three body segments).  

Underground and Ground Layer (at bottom):

 Ground and Plant Layer (middle of piece):

Sky Layer:

 The painted disks are drilled with two holes (referencing buttons, that attach one thing to another, like humans to animals...) through which a fine annealed steel wire is threaded to create a grid that is held three inches off the surface of the wall, allowing the disks to cast shadows on the wall behind. We humans cast our shadows on the natural world, and nature (and its creatures) casts shadows on us. This is a dance of reciprocity we would do well to acknowledge and celebrate! 

Here are a few detail shots of individual disks:


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