Curatorial Reviews

Visiting exhibitions either virtually or in reality opens up possibilities; why that art, how does the art connect to the title of the exhibition, is the space right, are these the right settings for such a piece? The questions are endless with much to be explored and investigated. In consideration of the above, ‘Curatorial Reviews’ reflects on exhibitions visited through a short critique, in addition to a creative response which is found below!

“Bugs: Beauty and Danger”
Autumn 2020

The quality of an exhibition may often be related to the amount of time spent viewing the art and capturing the feel of the exposition. The longer the better, perhaps, or a short scan leaving no desire to return. In “Bugs: Beauty and Danger” at Groundworks in Kings Lynn, the first option is the chosen one, as viewing the exhibition for the first time initiated a great desire to return, again and again. It is a beautifully crafted exhibition seeking to expose the attractiveness to be found in such creatures as moths, locusts, beetles, and uncover our reaction as ‘back-boned animals’. It is the breadth of bugs and their issues which is mesmerising. From the famous award-winning Jeroen Eisinga film ‘Springtime’ (2010-11) of swarming bees settling on the artist, to the oil painting by Nicola Bealing, of this time, swarming locusts over the infinitesimal heads of human beings called ‘Plague – Locusts, 2015’ - these draw the viewer into a deeper consideration of the issues surrounding such creatures. For example, “How do bugs view human beings?” An imponderable question, however the exhibition initiates the idea and allows the viewer to muse over such a thought, whilst scrutinizing images of more enticing bugs.

Reference: Exhibition catalogue for ‘Bugs: Beauty and Danger’

‘The Moth’s View’
A Creative Response

Frozen and static behind a glass plate, eyes piercing into my being – there’s no avoidance, trapped in a time capsule for all to observe. I’m on a whitewashed gallery wall with pristine cutting edge corners. The smells and sights of a former life faded, left in the past, leaving me with only the searing pain of loss. Beforehand there was joy, the wonder of a natural world; it was my world, and one filled with mesmerising scenes.

I’d fly, fluttering over trees and shrubs on soft and aged, white wings; endeavouring always to find that special place for my larvae. Perhaps it could be a hawthorn or elder bark. Creeping around in dark ivy was one of my favourite places as you just never knew who was going to be there. It was such an adventure. Other moths would join in too, it was always great when a whisper of us appeared to spook those humans who ventured too near. I’d wait, camouflaging myself in a hidden bark nook, along with the others. Then the perpetrator, roaming around in the gloom, would stare askance at the sudden unexpected movement, as we all simultaneously appeared, like tiny ghosts. It was such fun, the freedom to roam and cause uproar.

There’s always a time when endings occur, why that night, that moment, who knows. It changed my life forever, I was caught, trapped and transported to another world. To give them their due, the humans were gentle, savouring their victim. I was placed inside a wire netted box, with food, bark and leaves to make me feel ‘at home’. It didn’t. Days passed, humans observed me, discussions took place, making me feel even lonelier isolated. My body changed and therefore I changed, it’s happened before, a transmutation for the future, but what is my future?

The window was left open in this pristine new world in which I now inhabit. Through the window flies a discrete visitor. I sense their presence immediately. Taking a huge risk in this human space, they hover near by seeking me out, when a spray mist appears, from nowhere and suddenly they are no more!

It’s not really me, just an image and one day that’s all they’ll be. A beautifully executed image!

Caroline Evans