Crawly Creatures ‘Swarm’ Into Exhibit

El Vaquero Staff Writer

While the mere thought of ?creepy crawly critters? invading a picnic traumatizes most people, the unwelcome guests finally receive their own place on the blanket in the new art exhibit ?Swarm.?

Although the artists involved in the exhibit did not collaborate with one another, all of them focused on the same image: insects. The five artists are Catherine Chalmers, Paul Paiement, Karen Reitzel, Hector Soriano and Marian Winsryg.

?Swarm” is a show that groups insects as its focus and insects symbolize positive life forces and negative life forces,? said Annabelle Aylmer, art gallery director.

The 21-piece exhibit includes artwork in many forms, including acrylic and mixed media on wood, cibachrome print, digital print, egg tempera on panel, inject prints on paper, pastel on paper and whiteware with glaze and luster.

A reception, which was held on March 13, allowed students to discuss the art one on one with artists Paiement, Reitzel and Soriano.

From an eight-piece series called ?Food Chain,? Chalmers photographs the interaction between insects and their hierarchy. The framed picture ?Praying Mantis Eating a Caterpillar? depicts a vivid observation of a caterpillar?s final fate. The large size of the photograph allows more detail and color to be observed.

Paiement, on the other hand, introduces an alternative way of depicting insects through a simple method. In the piece, ?D-Apantesis Spacehuttle? he shows one clear object that appears to be a space shuttle but can be easily viewed as an insect. This image is then duplicated across the panel.

Similar to the way that Paiement transforms images, Reizel also configures images to be viewed as multiple figures. One of the most unique pieces, ?Chum Yummers Specimens? introduces three folded digital images of jewel scarabs beetles and puppy dogs intertwined into one another. These same scarab beetles represented regeneration to the Egyptians.

Aylmer said the Reizel piece is ?tugging at the subliminal knowledge that the self is fully of the biosphere, despite the conundrums inherent of the ideals of the rational.?

Soriano represents the insects through five framed portraits, including ?Goliath Beetle,? ?Praying Mantis,? ?Human Bot Fly,? ?Hickory Horned Devil? and ?Elephant Hawkmoth? as well as three ceramic pieces. Aylmer said, ?Contrasting calm normalcy with the unthinkable, Soriano reminds us of a possible invasion of our illusions by mutation, decay and disease.? Another piece, ?Cocoon Vase,? has a black interior and a white exterior with a distinct brown insect crawling on the side.

The two Winsryg pieces are brighter in color and have duplicate shapes throughout the digital print. In ?Ants,? Winsyrg uses the colors orange and purple to represent the numerous ants crawling around in a dark background. The other art piece, ?Insect Camouflage,? displays the creatures that are around a picnic setting.

Students interested in purchasing the art pieces or for price quotes can contact Anabelle Aylmer at ext. 5663. ?Swarm? will be at the GCC art gallery until April 11. Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.