Last semester my ESPM40 students made insect-based art projects. Many of them were outstanding. I have selected just a few that I want to share. I’ll post them over the next couple weeks. Unfortunately I just took pictures of the original artwork with the handheld camera so they don’t really do full justice to how interesting the pieces are, but you’ll get the idea.
First up is a piece by Trevor Russell, called “The Last Predation.” His piece is inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “The Last Supper” but in this version he has praying mantises congregating around the dinner table. Trevor asked us if we can spot the Judas mantis among the group. I wonder if he realizes how appropriate it is to use mantises, which are known to be somewhat cannibalistic when you think about the “Host” in modern Christianity.
Next is a scratchboard piece called “Untouched Beauty” by Nhu Ngo. In considering this piece you’re asked to think about the way that the insects are both complex and beautiful. Nhu intends to represent the relationship between humans and insects, noting how the beholder may derive different interpretations of either pleasure of discomfort. The chained hands and the free butterfly also convey the idea of the freedom or release through metamorphosis.
Helen Yang did a piece called “Halves of a Whole”, she says that this depicts two women who represent opposing societal attitudes towards insects. Top is a elegant, proud looking woman representing the cultural veneration of “beautiful” insects, such as Lepidoptera. On the bottom is a decaying corpse, that represents the idea of disgusting in repulsive insects. Also Helen tells us that though these two attitudes towards insects exist in our society, both of these perceptions of insects, whether we like them or not, have an important place in the world.
Finally, here is “A Flurry of Butterflies” by Isabella Robles; a lighthearted piece representing the haphazard flight of butterflies whimsically placed in this watercolor painting.
That’s all for now. Next time I’ll put together a series of pieces that were done with beetles as the central theme.