In the past years, bee populations have been devastated by something scientists are calling Colony Collapse Disorder, causing a global crisis for humans and other animals. Sam Dreoge, a biologist at U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, catalogs hundreds of bee species in his lab. As the head of the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab, Dreoge produces stunning high-resolution images that capture the diversity and spellbinding beauty the fascinating and helpful little creatures.
Dreoge’s photographs, which are used to identify and track bee populations, are often magnified up to five times the actual size of the insect. Focusing on minuscule details normally only visible under a microscope, most of the pieces are composites of numerous images, shot at multiple ranges with a 60 millimeter macro lens. Each image is also carefully edited, scrubbed of specks of dust. In preparation for the photo shoots, each bee specimen undergoes a bath in warm water and dish soap, after which they are carefully blow-dried to showcase their astoundingly beautiful, vibrant hair.
Dreoge’s images of bees read like the technological age’s answer to Leonardo da Vinci, who studied and sometimes killed insect specimens for the dual purpose of art and science. Research like this always raises ethical flags, but that moral question becomes more complicated when we are confronted with environmental crises like CCD. Bee populations are effected by parasites as well as problems caused by humans, like pesticides and climate change; it’s imperative that we find a way to save these miraculous animals, and Dreoge’s work could go a long way. What do you think? (via Smithsonian and Colossal)
All of us at Beautiful/Decay would like to wish all of our readers and supports a happy thanksgiving full of food, fun and good times with family and friends. We’re taking the day off from blogging but if you must have your art fix check out some of our favorite all time posts HERE, HERE and HERE. Also keep an eye out for our Cyber Monday sale that will bring you big savings on all your favorite Beautiful/Decay books and products just in time for the holiday season.
With a healthy interest in new life, spirituality, and the infinite variations of consciousness, Michael Page paints
dreamscapes of alternative realities. Through boundless shapes of thick brush strokes and effervescent colors, his paintings portray the Pneuma or spirit/soul that breathes in every living organism. (via i heart my art)
Darin Shuler just got one of the final Xeric Grants, and with it he is publishing Castle and Wood, his ongoing comic involving some grotesque, yet cute, anthropomorphic individuals. He has a lovely command over black and white. He’s got a great website, he tumbles, he flicks, and sells his comics.
SF based installation artist Gregory Ito has just wrapped his latest exhibition at Eleanor Harwood Gallery entitled Moonstruck. The press release defines the show as “…an exhibition that deconstructs Ito’s impassioned relationship with the Moon, in hopes of connecting viewers with the constant looming presence of the lunar sphere that floats high above us. By referencing domestic spaces, romantic companionship, and his personal history, Ito presents new works that highlight his engagement with the Moon through assembling images, objects, text, textures, and gesture. Ito raises awareness of the Moon’s encompassing presence throughout human history, and acknowledge the void that exists between the general populous and the sky above us. Ito aims to present works that encourages viewers to address their individual connection with the Moon and redefine it’s significance in today’s social and cultural climate.”
Boris Pelcer is an artist concerned with representing two of the great unknowns – space, and the space inside the human mind. Currently based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Bosnian-born artist and designer draws incredibly intricate portraits, swathing his subjects in cloaks of stars, smoke, hair and other natural elements. His subjects remain visibly human and relatable, but are given an otherworldly or mysterious quality. Using painstakingly detailed mechanical pencil work (aided occasionally with acrylic paints) on paper, Pelcer achieves a dense psychic mood with his incredible drawings.
Some of his more gripping works seem to semi-autobiographical, dealing with the sense of self, works which become an artistic investigation of the psyche. Questioning the nature of the conscious and the unconscious minds in his Supreme Consciousness series, Pelcer’s statement questions what would happen to his mind if given total access to the unconscious, while his work portrays a limitless melding of human and cosmos,
Of his Something Somewhere series, Pelcer says, “I can sense the presence of enclosed spaces within my psyche. A hidden collection of obscure moods & thoughts that I can’t quite comprehend. In attempt to better comprehend some of it, I’ve developed this series. It is a stroll of curiosity in search of something insightful, somewhere within the hidden valleys of my psyche.” (via boooooom)
Old magazines and documents are given new life in Mark Powell’s work. Instead of using a blank piece of paper he incorporates a used surface with one of his drawings. This adds a bit of nostalgia and makes his sketches unique. He created a series of animal portraits on the covers of 1940’s National Geographic magazines. These were done in Powell’s ultra realistic style, where he used a common bic ballpoint pen to create dramatic renderings. In this instance, the wild animals offer the viewer a striking view of not only Powell’s expertise as a draftsman but a certain comfort level in seeing a familiar title.
A series of map drawings by the artist cleverly uses historical and literary figures. Mostly portraying old men, Powell fuses the lines on their faces perfectly with the map borders adding an interesting element. The idea itself preserves a time and place. Birds, insects and chimpanzees create another body of work that incorporates more reappropriation. The intricately drawn specimens appear on anatomy text book pages, old letter envelopes and historical editions. These are rendered with scientific precision similar to botanical studies. Their placement on the used surface opens up a collage sensibility.
Powell uses a tool that also holds historical significance. Before the bic biro pen was invented only cumbersome fountain pens were used. These were messy and inconvenient. A newspaper editor named Lazlo Biro noticed that newspaper inks dried quicker and with his brother Gyorgy, a chemist, created the first ballpoint writing pen. Because of the moving ball at the pen’s end the inks were allowed to dry making it easier to use. (via faithistorment)