An introduction can be a wonderful thing. You can meet interesting people, and make new friends. You can be introduced to your new favorite foods, books, music, or artist.
I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite artists. Some of whom I’ve been familiar with for years, and other I’ve only recently been introduced to.
The person I’d like to introduce is the Halifax, Nova Scotia artist Ruth Marsh.
“In recent years my work has dealt with loss, absence and longing in the context of living creatures and the natural world. Bees in particular have held prominence, first as a symbol of warning and mediation and later as a representation of the magical/spiritual transformation from living creature to holy relic. Fulfilling all of these roles, bees have formed the thematic “connective tissue” of my work, giving my practice its united direction; this manifests most specifically in the poetic narratives surrounding their disappearance.
The recent, ongoing series, Bee Taxidermy is both a monument to missing bees and an artist’s attempt to put humpty dumpty back together again. A call has been sent out across Canada for members of the public to mail found dead bees to the project. Once requested, a participant will receive a “bee kit” in the mail which includes a small container for the bee, a set of instructions, a brief questionnaire and a small, original drawing in exchange for their efforts. So far hundreds of bees have been received and it is an ongoing effort to repair and preserve each one.”
“A viewer might be attracted to the bees by their diminutive scale and lean in for a closer look only to notice that the bees have not only been preserved but also meticulously and lovingly repaired. What the viewer finds instead is an unfaithful copy, a simulacrum; parts that were missing have been replaced with objects of a similar scale. Sections of legs have been carefully replaced with electrical resistors, jewelry parts and wire. Missing sections have been resurfaced with soft velvet and rabbit fur. Discarded and reused materials make up for what is missing. The result is what Jean Baudrillard might consider “a perversion of reality”. After completing this process the bees are representative of, yet no longer members of, the natural order of things and what is felt is not so much that something has been preserved but more that it has been irrevocably lost.”
“The Bee Taxidermy series has also incorporated video and performance to further encourage community involvement. The Instructional video “Bee Taxidermy: A How To Guide” is presented to the public to encourage them to take on bee preservation. In the performance “Bee Warning and Memorialization Walking Tours” participants were encouraged to identify areas hazardous to bees and leave small printed warning signs for them. If a dead bee was found on a tour, a small memorial sign was left. In all aspects the Bee Taxidermy series attempts to use humor and community engagement to open up a dialogue about ecological disaster.”
More material realting to Ruth Marsh:
Blogspot: Ruth Marsh.
Confederation Centre of the Arts: Ruth Marsh.