BUZZ: Getting to Know Other Animals

    Saturday, May 24, 2014 to Saturday, June 21, 2014

    Opening
    • Friday, May 23, 2014
    Gallery 101 presents: BUZZ: Getting to Know Other Animals Kimberly Edgar, Deborah Margo, Bioni Samp, Amy Swartz, and work from the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes, (CNC). Curator: Laura Margita May 24 - June 21 2014 Opening: May 24, 2-5pm Performance by Bioni Samp Hive Synthesis Mix (Live Electronics & DJ Mix): May 23, 8-11pm, at the Museum of Nature, Nature Nocturne Get tickets here: http://nature.ca/en/plan-your-visit/nature-nocturne/programme BUZZ: Getting to Know Other Animals, (BUZZ), explores insects as a pressing and prominent ecological subject and a source of artistic expression. Kimberly Edgar, Deborah Margo, Bioni Samp, and Amy Swartz, strike a fine balance between thoroughly researched subject matter and artistic excellence. The CNC research images and specimens make a counterpoint for the contemporary artwork. Where the pieces from the CNC collection privilege the gaze of scientific research over artistic expression, Edgar’s imagery is based on personal story telling. In both cases, the goal is to understand insects in order to live beside them, although with different agendas. Edgar says that “drawing insects and other arthropods forces her to analyze them aesthetically, so that she is no longer thinking about them fearfully, but learning to appreciate them as beautiful and interesting; and that drawing them allows her to cross that fine line between revulsion and fascination.” Deborah Margo’s work for BUZZ is as practical as it is experimental. This installation is another outcome of her practice of combining different disciplines; in this case: ephemeral installations, relational aesthetics, and the questioning of public and private spaces. In 1995, Deborah presented a solo exhibit at Gallery 101 called The Bee Cellar, an artistic experiment rooted in minimalism and invisibility. The work was quiet and opaque. It is wonderful to bring her back to G101 for a project in 2014. Margo’s current installation is a garden placed thoughtfully within the social and ecological systems here at Gallery 101 and our surrounding communities. The work will stimulate bodies and minds by combining creative experimentation, ecological sustainability, and nourishment for two specific animal species: bees and cultural workers. Bioni Samp combines visual and sound art, bees, and technology in his artistic practice. He says that he was inspired to raise awareness about the plight of bees after keeping them in London, England. Samp builds aesthetically intricate sound gathering equipment to record bee frequencies, which inspire his improvised sound performances, video, and photography. He creates experimental electronic music, live and on recordings. Samp makes custom audio software and hardware to create his sound. It is hard to describe in a few words and is best seen live. His Ottawa performance will be at the Museum of Nature’s Nature Nocturne, May 23 from 8-11pm. Go to: http://nature.ca/en/plan-your-visit/nature-nocturne/programme for tickets. Amy Swartz’s installations combine both natural and artificial materials in tiny sculptures that emulate CNC specimen collections. Her fantasy animals are so highly detailed and meticulously crafted that they look like real specimens. She tells us that her work explores the idea of obsession — not only in the practice of art, but also in humanity’s perceived control over nature, life, and death. As R.M. Vaughan wrote about her, “Swartz makes even the tiniest deaths meaningful (and, yes, morbidly funny),” (from her web site). The juxtaposition between Swartz and the CNC specimens leads us to consider how the gaze of the scientist and the gaze of the artist may differ in regards to the animals they are studying. The CNC loaned Gallery 101 a specimen drawer, drawings, scanning electron microscope images and colour photographs for this exhibition. The CNC is one of the five largest collections of its kind in the world. The CNC is an active centre of scientific research and an invaluable national resource. The illustrations and art work created there is made in support of science that will protect Canada's biodiversity, including reducing the billions of dollars lost annually to invasive species in agriculture, forestry, northern wilderness areas and other native habitats. Special thanks: Cynthia Iburg, Adult Program Project Lead, Experience and Engagement, Canadian Museum of Nature, Henri Goulet, Entomologist, (Retired), The Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes (CNC) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Cara Tierney. Deborah Margo wishes to thank Mary Faught for the loan of six large pots.
    Gallery 101 gratefully acknowledges the support of The City of Ottawa, The Ontario Arts Council, and The Canada Council for the Arts. Gallery 101 thanks ASINABKA: Film & Media Arts Festival, Indigenous Culture and Media Innovations (ICMI), NIIGAAN: In Conversation, members, volunteers, partners, and all our relations.