Whitney Nye, Daniela Molnar, and Pattie Baker: Pollinators in Visual Art

 

 

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Winged is a literary anthology, and we’re excited to feature written work about humans and bees from a wide range of artists. But there are also many artists creating visual work in response to pollinators– their beauty, their industry, and the unfolding story of their decline. While we can’t include visual art in our printed anthology, we want to feature it here. Below, the stories behind three artists and their paintings.
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Whitney Nye’s work as a visual artist draws on pattern, texture, and movement.  She is especially interested in patterns of repetition, which is evident in her sensitive honeycomb-inspired canvas Honey, currently on display at the Portland Airport. Nye was gracious enough to let us showcase this piece on the blog, and she describes the process in detail below. For more on her work, please visit her website. Currently, she’s also at work on a fascinating collaborative project at the city dump: GLEAN. Nye and other participating artists are busy gleaning materials from the Metro Central Transfer Station, to make art that prompts others to think about their consumption habits. The finished work will be displayed this fall. Honey

 

Whitney writes:
“This piece titled ‘Honey’ is made from old sewing pattern tissue.  The pink section of the piece is colored with gouache, and the natural colored sections of the piece is the actual color of the tissue paper. The paper was then cut into circles and glued on one circle at a time.  The layering created a honeycomb-like pattern and reminded me of eating honeycomb when I was a child.  The process of collaging on such a large scale is somewhat difficult, physically getting into the middle of the panel.  I worked on this flat, over a period of a month or so.  A meditative and somewhat obsessive process.”
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Daniela Molnar created the beautiful images of bees on our landing page and “About” page. Her generous, curious spirit has led her to create an impressive body of work that explores the intersections of art, culture, and nature. She’s an active public artist engaged in a wide range of solitary and collaborative projects, and she’s also a dedicated teacher. See more of her work here, and check out her upcoming project Summer Field Studies at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle. Below, she reflects on the story behind her piece Mimicry, Dispersal II.mimicry,-dispersal-II-web
Daniela writes: “This painting is part of a series that focuses on the fluid movement, as well as the precise structure of flowers. These works are both color field paintings and botanical studies, exploring how patterns in nature are perceived, named and understood. The works question habits of naming and perception — when is a flower no longer a flower? When does a flower cease to be a noun and become a verb? Envisioning nature as an interconnected process rather than a collection of distinct objects highlights the delicate web necessary to sustain the lives of all earth’s inhabitants, including bees.”
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When Pattie Palmer Baker submitted work for Winged this winter, she wondered if we were also interested in visual art. A poet, collagist, and calligrapher, she told us about a piece she had created in response to last June’s Safari-related bee kill in Wilsonville. Her calligraphic style is based on the 8th century Carolingian alphabet and her paste paper process is adapted from a 17th century decorated paper technique. We’re grateful for Baker’s work and for her support of this project.
4. 50,000 Bumblebees Die_PattiePalmer-Baker-1
Pattie writes: “Earlier this year up to fifty thousand bumblebees were poisoned by an insecticide not to be used in the presence of bees. The image of the bumblebees falling, scrabbling, dying on the asphalt haunted me–  so much so that I wrote a poem and created two artworks to express my outrage and grief. Most of us are aware that the pollinating ability of bees is profoundly necessary, but personally and anthropomorphically I grieved because I see them as uniquely beautiful beings working unfailingly for the good of the many.”
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