The project is complete, the show is hanging. At least, the project as defined by the grant proposal is complete. But I've gotta keep going. This was too good, too fun, too fulfilling to close the book just yet. There's more to come on the bee front. Watch out.
For those that want to see (and smell!) the artwork, swing on by the Art Gallery of Golden sometime this month. Here's what you would read on the wall when you got there:
The plight of the honeybee has been the stuff of headlines and news stories in recent years. There is a growing concern that the collapsing colonies of pollinators will have a regrettable impact on food supply and indeed on the human experience. Such a little creature, so easily forgotten and ignored, is garnering some attention at last.
This show is meant as a gentle visual reminder of the importance of bees, of their value over the generations, and of their fascinating ways. For thousands of years the bee has been revered, her honey cherished as food and ointment. Our cultural disconnect from food sources in the last century has put a rift between many of us and the mighty bee, a rift that I hope to diminish by a wing’s width with each viewer of this work.
But in truth, my intentions with the show were not entirely altruistic. The selfish and curious part of me wanted to explore the work of the bees and the work of their keepers, their stewards. I wanted to know more, and I wanted to eat more honey. I wanted to surround myself with their buzz, and when the shooting was done I wanted to surround myself with the smell of their wax. Spending time at my kitchen table with photographs, wood, and wax was a welcome change from hours at the computer, the darkroom of the digital age. In that sense, this project has been an escape and a complete gift. I owe the bees (and CKCA, the funder for this project) no small part of my sanity this summer.
I’ve been taking basic prints of color images, adhering them to wood boards and then coating them with encaustic wax (filtered beeswax mixed with damar resin). For the black and white images, I’m doing image transfers onto layers of golden beeswax on wood. Several of the pieces also have small quotes, phrases, or poems about bees from a wide variety of writers and thinkers.
If you can't make it to see the exhibit in person, check out the full collection of completed work here: Honey Honey. And for the full effect, sniff a beeswax candle while viewing.
A huge thank you to Sigi for letting me tag along, stick a lens in the hives, and ask a lot of questions.