Tuesday, November 30, 2010

HIVE Revisit

Below are Cheryl McClure's and Carolyn Fox-Hearn's paintings that didn't make it into my previous post.  My apologies to Cheryl and Carolyn for not getting their paintings in there. 

Cheryl McClure (DallasWAX group) They Paved Paradise, Encaustic Collage

Carolyn Fox-Hearn, Man and Bee, Encaustic Collage

Below are different views of Denise Stringer Davis's collaborative book and the list of artists who collaborated on this project.  

Denise Stringer Davis, Collaborative book

Alex Brewer, Pat Burton, Denise Stringer Davis, Molly Davis, Zoe Davis, Loretta DiStefano, Alex Dupre, 
Claire Dupre, Lindsay Hill, Corinne Jones, Heidi Lingamfelter, Linda Pinkston, Hazel Shepherd, Jane Shepherd

I  would also like to mention that besides having Laura Tyler's film stream during the exhibition, getting lots of attention I might add, during the panel discussion, I  shared some of the images Laura sent me of a new project she has underway. Another collaboration but with the bees. She and the bees are creating a kind of quilt. Her idea, but the bees  are helping. Below is some information about Laura. Click here for Laura's web site. Thank you, Laura.

Laura holding up one of her frames that is placed inside the hive. It is a timely process she says, and much depends on the bee's schedule.

"Laura Tyler, producer and director of the documentary film Sister Bee, is a painter and filmmaker who speaks nationally about beekeeping and honeybees.  A co-founder of the Boulder, Colorado based honey company, Backyard Bees, she manages up to 20 colonies of honeybees. She earned a BFA in filmmaking from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1993 and is a lover of sunlight, flowers and alizarin orange."

Sister Bee is a lyrical documentary about six beekeepers who find beauty and wonderment in their work with honeybees. Beekeeping is more than a hobby for the beekeepers of Sister Bee. It's a source of laughter, learning and connecting with the natural world.  Sister Bee follows the arc of the beekeeping year beginning with spring queens and ending with the fall honey harvest.  Each beekeeper's outlook is revealed through shared thoughts and gestures.  Expressive sound effects and a score of vocal music, antique whistling songs and acoustic guitar unify Sister Bee into a celebration of honeybees, beekeepers and the changing seasons.  Mortality, sisterhood and the palpable sense of connectedness some beekeepers experience while working with honeybees are addressed.

Lastly, I want to say a bit about the Bee Book I put in the exhibition. As I said earlier, it is a book we (my siblings and I) found in when we were going through my parents house after my mom passed. I remember my step dad keeping the bees, the honey and comb in jars, and seeing him in his protective gear when he was working. I think he had trouble with them surviving through the winter and finally he stopped. I don't know when or how he got the book. It was sealed in a zip lock bag on the book shelf when we found it. The book is C. C. Miller's Fifty Years Among the Bees originally published by A.I Root Company, Medina, Ohio in 1915. The copy I have is too fragile to read but I did take pictures of some of the pages. Dover republished an unabridged edition in 2006 which I have now and am reading.  Miller has a charming way of describing his life and his attitudes and it is a fun read so far. Not knowing much about keeping bees myself, I thought it would be boring and too technical but so far, that hasn't been the case. 

At one point, Miller had a job in another state and his beekeeping was being done long distance with the aide of his wife and some neighbors. He says, on page 36, "Clearly, keeping bees at along range was a very unsatisfactory business. City life was also unsatisfactory; a traveling life was worse. So in spite of the reduced chance of making money, I decided for a life in the country." Further on, he says, "If I had kept my other job I would have, no doubt, made more money, but I would not have had so good a time, and doubt if I would be alive now. "   Reminds me of how I felt when I quit my high school teaching job. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

HIVE Exhibition

Telling Bees by Denise Stringer Davis

Above Paintings are top: Entomphily and Zoophily: Birds and Bees, etc by Deanna Wood
Next down: Vacant by Jennie Kimbrough
Next down: Decline by Hayes Parker

Sara Cooney's work

Work by Suzanne Shield Polk
Close up of Collections, collaborative book by Denise Stringer Davis

Above and below are images from the HIVE exhibition at the Cole Art Center in Nacogdoches this month. We had good attendance at the reception and panel discussion on Saturday. This project was conceived to promote a greater awareness of the importance of the honeybee to our society and create discussion about  causes for the current problem with the bee population called Colony Collapse Disorder, referred to as CCD.  
A major part of the exhibition is the wall of hexagon-shaped  Encaustic paintings by Houston and DallasWAX  member artists. Content of the work needed to pertain to bees in some way.  We have Laura Tyler's film Sister Bee, streaming in the gallery. A collaborative accordion-fold book conceived and assembled by Denise Stringer Davis with pages made by friends, family and artist members is also on display. Many of the members have bee keeping in their family history. I found a old hardback copy of C.C. Miller's Fifty Years Among the Bees in my dad's things after he passed. He had stopped keeping bees a long while back and given all his equipment to another family member but for some reason kept the book.  It is on display  as well.   Below is Denise's Honey Dreams which sits on a pedestal in the gallery. Honey is in the mouth.  

The panel discussion was a lively conversation with good audience participation. Marie Kucyen, president of the Pineywood Beekeepers Association presented interesting facts about our dependence on bees for much of our food supply. She cautioned that  even with the recent news about identifying the cause of CCD, there are still questions that have not been answered surrounding this disorder. There is still suspicions that  certain pesticides lower the immune systems of the bees so that they are unable to fight off the affects of the two suspected causes. 
Panel member Melanie Brakie gave suggestions for garden plants that bees and other pollinators love as well as good suggestions on better products to get rid of garden pests that don't harm bees nor the environment. Dr. David Kulhavy was very enthusiastic about the coming together of art and science. He spoke of his book A Forest Insect Alphabet which has just been printed and will be on exhibition this week. Animated, he read/sang some of the songs that he wrote in the book about the wiggle dance of the bees. There is more about his book at the bottom of this post.

Honey Dreams by Denise Stringer Davis
Honey Dreams by Denise Stringer Davis

HIVE exhibition L to R at far end L work by Sara Cooney, Deanna Wood and Denise Stringer Davis
L to R: Collections, Denise Stringer Davis, and other works in HIVE

Pollen Puffers by Larry Kitchens
Old book from Gwen Plunkett's collection handed down from her Dad. Book is an original copy of C.C. Miller's Fifty Years Among the Bees.
L to R Collections, Far left: Denise Stringer Davis; Untitled by Hayes Parker; Vacant by Jennie Kimbrough; God's Nectar I and II and Queen's Lair (A Room of Her Own) by Gwendolyn Plunett
Swarm I and II and Star's Tears by Gwendolyn Plunkett; Harmony  and Heartbroken by Carolyn Fox-Hearn and further down works by Linda Walker
Diaspora, Empty Nest Syndrome and Cast Aside by Linda Walker
L and R -  Harmony; Center-Heartbroken by Carolyn Fox Hearn

Panel: L to R- Gwendolyn Plunkett,  Marie Kocyan,  Dr. David Kulhavy,  and Melinda Brakie.

In the picture above, Dr. Kulhavy is holding up a copy of his latest project,  A Forest Insect Alphabet, a book consisting fifty-one original woodcuts and text printed by LaNana Creek Press. This book is a result of an SFA faculty research grant awarded to Charles Jones, retired professor of art and director of SFA's fine arts press, and Dr. Kulhavy. It was printed and bound by hand during the summer and fall of 2010. The 72-page book includes woodcut prints of forest insects created by Charles Jones and descriptions and texts are written by Dr. Kulhavy.  Included in each book is a compact disc of songs that are the actual texts set to music by Nacogdoches musician Miki Lynn. Click here to read more. 

The book and 26 selected framed pages will be exhibited Wednesday, Nov. 17 in Griffith Gallery on the SFA campus. 

Q is for Woodcut by Charles Jones

You can see more four more pages of images of the HIVE exhibition on my Flickr page here. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

HIVE Exhibition Opens next Saturday

Image by Deanna Wood - Entomophilly, Zoophilly, Birds, Bees, etc.
(Three 12 x 13.75 inch hexagon panels)
Stephen F. Austin State University
SFA Galleries
PO Box 13041, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, TX 75962-3041

Opening Reception with the artists  November 13, 2010, at 3 p.m.

A multi-disciplinary exhibition of encaustic paintings that shine a light on the plight of the bee featuring works by 12 Texas artists

followed by a panel discussion on the importance of the bees & colony collapse disorder at 3:30 p.m. 

On view November 12 - December 10
The Cole Art Center at The Old Opera House
Upstairs Hallway; 329 #. Main Street, Nacogdoches, TX
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Friday, 12:30  - 5 p.m.,
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sponsored in part by the SFA Friends of the Visual Arts
and Nacogdoches Junior Forum
For more information, please call 936-468-1131

Participating artists:
from HoustonWAX
Gwendolyn Plunkett, Denise Stringer Davis, Sara Cooney, Jennie Kimbrough, Hayes Parker, Linda Walker, Susan Shield-Polk

from  DallasWAX: Carolyn Fox-Hearn, Cheryl McClure, Larry Kitchens, Deanna Wood

From Boulder, Colorado: Laura Tyler (Sister Bee)

Panel members:
Marie Kocyan, president of the Pineywoods Beekeepers Association
Melinda Brakie, a soil conservationalist from the East Texas Plant Material Center
Gwendolyn Plunkett, president of Texas Wax Houston (the organization responsible for the exhibition)
Dr. David Kulhavy, SFA professor of forestry and a contributor to PollinatorLIVE, a national program on pollinators and public education.