Insect Specimen Boxes

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I first started using Insects in my work in 1991, having taken a group of DVC art students to study San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where we lived for 5 weeks.  I would just find huge, magnificant irridescent insects (mostly beetles) dead on the street and I'd tuck them in my pocket to paint vivid watercolors of them every day after lunch.  Mexico also brought me to collect ex-votos and retablos and I later started expanding the use of insects into using additional layers of other natural elements:  seeds, trees, cells, my body, organs, cocoons.  I seemed to relate to the combination as a personal biology; the work became icons, shrines, alters and tributes.  I began some years ago to cover the work with beeswax to seal, protect, and refer back to a wider natural universe.

The work in the "Wax Museum" show comes from someone giving me an old damaged butterfly box, into which I added insect shapes cut out of my own drawings.  The Insect Specimen Boxes (over 56 of them!)  combine and layer actual specimens (ordering butterflies on eBay) with my past paintings and intuitive ballpoint and gel pen drawings. They have progressed from flat collection boxes to 4" deep sculptural extravaganzas of my own artistic history.