In this exhibition, the bee features prominently as a testimony to the ingenuity, grace and inherently beautiful structures present in the natural world, structures that we have been observing and interacting with for thousands of years. Natural forms, such as the tree or the honey – bee, become an analogy for life itself and imbued with mythic qualities, they generate narratives about life and death and the interplay between humanity and the natural world.
The Queen emerges recalls the fact that bees have changed little since the Jurassic period (some 100 million years) and have been a source of beeswax, honey (liquid gold) and wonder in many cultures since ancient times.
As a wild creature, bees have adapted to the predominance of humans in the world but are increasingly under threat from intensive mono – culture farming practices, genetic modification, and transportation for a global market. CCD or Colony Collapse Disorder is just one of the devastating outcomes of all this activity which makes me wonder; if we want to preserve the pollinators of over one third of the world’s fresh food, how will we adapt our lives to protect theirs?
This is the crux of the exhibition, for at the core of my work is a desire to better understand and remember the beneficial connections that exist between humans and other life forms, in the hope that it will (re) generate a deeper appreciation and respect for the natural world.
Many of the thoughts behind my work are summed up beautifully by Sasha Grishin, writing about the subtle commentary of artist John Wolsley on the extinction of species, people and cultures. He writes:
“…if we abandon the anthropocentric understanding of the world, that somehow the natural environment has been specifically designed for the benefit of humankind, and adopt a more holistic attitude, that humankind is not privileged over the rest of the world and that animals, plants, rivers, rocks and mountains are all part of the single living organism of this planet, then an ethical dilemma arises as to what happens when one species threatens the macro-environment and consequently starts to affect the existence of many of the other systems on earth.” John Wolsley Land marks II Craftsman House, pg 165, 2006.
Life on Earth – Cross Pollination is my second solo exhibition at MARS gallery exhibition runs from 5 December – 20 December 2012. The McClelland Sculpture Survey & Award 2012 runs until the 14th July 2013.