'Eclosion' portrays the natural glories of insectdom with ingenuity and wonder
This is the first EAST for Hayley Gillespie's Art.Science.Gallery, and what could be better than to be newly situated in Big Medium's Canopy compound? Well, Art.Science.Gallery, ever about the intersection of rigorous investigation and aesthetic expression, could have opened its display of artwork about insects just as the Entomological Society of America has its 61st annual meeting in Austin.
And so they did, and what a terrific show it is.
"Eclosion," named for the process of an adult insect leaving its cocoon and unveiling its metamorphosed form, features 57 works by 44 artists from across the country and around the world arranged by Gillespie and co-curator Barrett Klein.
Austin's Matt Norris crafts ants from bicycle chain and custom-cut brass sheets, their smooth and polished body parts supported by spiky, jointed legs in a simple and elegant arrangement of material, caught in static march across a white shelf – so different from the intricate, diversely metaled presence of Elizabeth Goluch's Violin Beetle sculpture. Austinite Marjorie Moore provides a lovely watercolor illustration of a cicada, embellished by an array of actual cicada carcasses and wings attached by thread and beeswax. Another watercolorist, Switzerland's Cornelia Hesse-Honegger – whom we recall reading about in Hugh Raffles' Insectopedia – offers studies of a leaf bug possibly deformed by radiation. The entire show radiates something, but it's nothing more deforming than beauty and the heights of craft: Whether two- or three-dimensional, whether manifest on paper or video screen, posed atop a pedestal or hanging from the ceiling, "Eclosion" is redolent of wonder made tangible, of natural glories captured by human skill and ingenuity. Hell, you could go to see only Jennifer Angus' exquisite Bell Jar #1 and stare into its multileveled tableau of preserved insects, dried flora, and sculpted beeswax for hours, and you'd leave the gallery feeling, this was a visit worth taking, this was something I needed to see.
"Eclosion" is on display at Art.Science.Gallery, 916 Springdale, Bldg 3, #102, during the East Austin Studio Tour, which continues Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 23-24, 11am-6pm, throughout East Austin. For more information, visit www.eastaustinstudiotour.com.