Very pleased to be showing 14 of my Moth mezzotints in BUGS Beauty & Danger at Groundwork Gallery in Kings Lynn. Groundwork is the UK’s leading gallery for art and the environment and true to form this exhibition will be both beautiful and deeply challenging.  BUGS Beauty & Danger addresses our complex relationships with some of the tiny creatures without which the earth would not survive.

Featuring works by international artists; Nicola Bealing, Arno van Berge Henegouwen, Jeroen Eisinga, Claudia Fährenkemper, Sarah Gillespie, Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, Aurora Sciabarra, Alison Turnbull, Arno van Berge Henegouwen.

GroundWork gallery’s next exhibition has been one of the hardest to put together and the most difficult to name. It is about insects, seen through the work of artists. But nothing about insects is straightforward. For a start, there are so many different kinds – winged, crawling, hard or soft-bodied, nocturnal or diurnal, invisible, harmful, or beneficial. There is a lot that even specialists don’t know about their survival, their habits, or even the extent of our interdependence with them. As the public, our feelings are mixed – we love and we fear insects. They are so often regarded as pests. So, Bugs, beauty and danger, addresses our complex relationships with some of the tiny creatures without which the earth would not survive.

Bugs, beauty and danger celebrates the power of insects at a time of increasing threat to many common species. Eight international artists are showing work mainly about bees, beetles, butterflies and moths, through drawings, paintings, film, etchings, installation, photography, to explore some of their intricacy and wonder, but also some of the fears we experience when encountering them. The exhibition extends from mid-March until the end of May and is included within the programme for Norfolk and Norwich Festival, 8-14 May.

The effects of climate change, pollution, including light pollution, pesticides, and our unthinking destruction has meant that 40% of insect species are in decline and a third are endangered. Insects are going extinct much faster than any mammals. This is very bad news indeed for the survival of all species. For bugs in all their variety create the earth’s infrastructure. They play an essential role in the chain of parasites which maintain the earth’s species balance. But also they have crucial relationships with soil, plants and animals, assisting fertility and health. Beetles are good at adapting to different habitats, help in the decomposition of vegetation and keep down more harmful predators. Bees are among the best plant pollinators and without them, we would have few vegetables or fruits. Moths are also good pollinators as well as being a food source themselves for a wide variety of other animals. It is their caterpillars which are an important food source for birds. Migrating birds can time their arrival to coincide with the availability of specific moth caterpillars.

Images exhibited in Bugs, beauty and danger, explore the full range of experience, from being spectacular, alarming and scary, to being quiet, reflective and delicate. The exhibition opens with Nicola Bealing’s large paintings of swarms of locusts and moths, immediately addressing one of our basic fears of the power of being engulphed. Swiss scientist-artist Cornelia Hesse-Honegger’s precise drawings, conducted over more than 20 years, reveal how bugs have suffered mutations from nuclear fall-out, bearing the brunt of some of the deeper dangers we are facing. Sarah Gillespie has conducted careful research in her own back garden to capture the delicacy of moths for her incredibly detailed mezzotints. Alison Turnbull, working from her Norfolk garden, collects moth and butterfly species, coding their visual information and transforming them into abstract pattern and composition. Aurora Sciabarra’s delicate bee swarm installation made from wax, is a poignant tribute to the endangered species, whereas Jeroen Eisinga’s award-winning film ‘Springtime’, shows a swarm of bees settling on his face and head, terrifyingly addressing some of his own deepest fears. Providing a culmination for the exhibition at the top of the building, Claudia Faehrenkemper’s ‘Imago’ series of micro- lens photographs, show us beetle faces as a series of armour-like, almost science-fiction portraits.

Insects bug us – we fear their swarms, their stings, we are annoyed at the holes they make in our clothing, we scream at their shiny carapaces, we suffer the germs they can spread. But these fears also contribute to their death and disappearance, These artists help us to rethink our attitudes, and make more careful observations about the ways of life of bugs in relation to ours, and to appreciate their secret mysteries.

Exhibition open to the public, 14 March – 30 May, Tuesdays to Saturdays, 11-4. ADMISSION FREE.

GroundWork Gallery

The UK’s only contemporary art gallery specialising in art and environment, it is a not-for-profit venture aiming both to show great contemporary art and to campaign on environmental issues. All works are for sale to help the work of both the artists and the gallery.

Buglife, the Invertebrate Conservation Trust.

We are supporting Buglife’s No Insectstinction campaign.

There is a lot we can do to protect insects, so the exhibition is accompanied by a campaign in tandem with Buglife, which aims to save insects from further decline, and to create safe-havens for insects to thrive, and increase public knowledge and understanding of the plight of all invertebrates.

For further information and images, please contact GroundWork Gallery



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