A CULTURE OF BEES 2006
OIL PAINTING,WAX,GOLDLEAF ON PAPER MOUNTED ON BOARD
Holly S. Murray
In 1999 Claire Kremen, a conservation biologist at the university of California, Berkeley, discovered that the success of the bee population depends on the diversity of breeds. Along with diversity of breed types, success hinges on the bees ability to survive in our toxic world. Bees are utilized in agriculture to pollinate many of our crops. Bee farmers travel hundreds of miles across the country renting their bees to farms to achieve successful crop pollination. The ancient partnership between the bees and plants is intrinsically vital to life. A third of all food we eat is pollinated by bees and other winged pollinators. Billions of dollars worth of crops in the United States are pollinated by migratory beekeepers. Bees are an exemplary subject to observe and study for their ability to work cooperatively for the good of the whole.
I paint bee imagery, often in combination with medical imagery; the science of medicine has been a subtext in much of my work. I collect antique drawings from 19th and 20th century medical journals, vintage agricultural imagery and assorted photographs acquired or taken during my travels. The images become source material for the depiction of the effects of science and bio-genetic modification in our global village. I create layers and transparencies, one on top of another, often repeating patterns. I stencil, print, stamp, gold leaf and apply bees’ wax and found paper. Utilizing these various methods and layers, I create associations indicating our compulsion to have the best of what science has to offer at any cost. Presently, genetic enhancement is the standard in all living things. The gold leaf references the icon, retablo or exvoto, as in the preciousness of our world. While examining our relationship to nature and our agricultural and biogenetic practices, I explore visually metaphorical dichotomies. I am fascinated by the duality; the poison and the cure, the science, the invasion, the expulsion or eradication. I like to think that art can transform us, change how we perceive our world and cause us to reconsider vital matters in new and creative ways.
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