Have shamelessly neglected posting things on this website, the fall has been difficult, not least because of Covid. So, finally, here are some of the images I’ve been working on. Most of the images start their lives with a seed, seed head or pod and then other parts enter into play.
I had the great honour to be on Jennifer Jewell’s wonderful Cultivating Place pod cast recently. To talk about art and what inspires the creative process is such an enriching experience. How often does one get to mine one’s past history, to consider the path, often circuitous, that leads to the present?
For those of you who follow Jennifer’s fabulous program, you will know what a masterful interviewer she is, and how she synthesizes ideas so skillfully into this wonderful exchange of words and experiences. If gardens are our repository of culture, of care for the earth and for one another, then Jennifer is that gardener, cultivating and nourishing this living substance of which we are all a part. As Robert Harrison says, the true gardener is always the “constant gardener.”
Thank you Jennifer for spending this time with me!
This episode will air again this Sunday morning, and it will become part of the Cultivating Place archive, so you can listen in at any time:
- Here’s a link to the episode notes: https://www.cultivatingplace.com/post/the-transformational-garden-art-of-jasna-guy
- And to the audio file on Soundcloud (it’s on Spotify, NPR One, Itunes and RadioPublic too): https://soundcloud.com/user-179107226/the-transformational-garden-art-of-jasna-guy
In my exploration of the life cycle of bees, I became intrigued by the process of metamorphosis that bees go through within their little cells. The period when the larva spins a silk coccoon around itself and undergoes this amazing transformation is wonderous. Here’s a short animation inspired by this magical process. The text in the video are fragments taken from the beautiful poetry of Carol Ann Duffy.
April 21, 2020 of the Covid year.
Well, sadly, the library is closed and has been for some weeks now. I understand that the show might go on if the library is permitted to open in June. So, maybe there’s a light at the end of this viral tunnel.
Covid is taking a toll on all of us. I wish for everyone to be safe and healthy despite the restrictions and closures.
Bee well until we get the OK! jasna
I’ve just installed an exhibition of my work at the Elisabeth C. Miller Horticultural Library at U.W. It’s a pleasure to be here in Seattle, but sadly with the Corona virus health situation, so many events are being cancelled. The opening of the exhibition was postponed to March 28th, but it is not at all certain if that planned event will proceed.
The library and the exhibition are open!
To mark this first day of December 2019, and this last month of the year, here’s another experiment in animation continuing with the bees and text that I posted a week or so ago.
As these are only experiments, the science parts here – the relationship of bees to flowers needs more research, but I enjoy the challenge of balancing the art with the science.
The text fragments are from the beautiful poetry of Eleanor Rand Wilner, and the incredible bees from the Rolfs/Robinson specimens which I am still working through. The plant drawings are based upon my wildflower specimens which I collected last spring and summer in a dream meadow in the Okanagan.
Some of the bees which I have used in this animation:
I’m experimenting with short animations based upon the Wenatchee bees – to see where this takes me. In this video, I drew from my specimens of Goldenrod, Solidago canadensis, and one of the beautiful Rolfs/Robinson bees, a Colletes, to create the visuals. The text fragments are from the incredible poetry of Eleanor Rand Wilner, from her book entitled “The Girl With Bees in Her Hair.”
Recently I had the pleasure of visiting a fellow bee-nerd friend in Wenatchee, WA., Lisa Robinson. As part of her extensive work on pollinators, Lisa has learned how to pin insect specimens in the ‘European’ fashion, with the wings spread out and the legs extended. An exceedingly demanding and time-consuming process, Lisa learned this skill from her mentor is Dr. Don Rolfs. I had the great pleasure of meeting him too. Don is very gracious and he generously shared some of his vast knowledge of native bees with me. I found these specimens to be exceedingly inspiring visually and I was thrilled to be permitted to photograph them. The short animation here is a first experimental tryout of using the bees in an art work.
Penticton Art Gallery, Penticton, B.C. July 5th-September 15, 2019
I have the great pleasure of having an exhibition at the Penticton Art Gallery with my friend and fellow bee-enthusiast-entomologist, Lincoln Best.
The title of the exhibition, “Pretty:useful”, hints at the language that we use to talk about plants, and I ask how that use of language reflects our relationship to the plants themselves?
Beautiful, useful, native, exotic, introduced, edible, nutritious, medicinal, noxious, aggressive, lucrative, rare, productive, keystone, endemic, passive, decorative, weedy, extirpated, healing, messy, restored, ornamental…
I question our relationship to plants, and wonder if we can move beyond seeing them as objects for our own use, to a less privileged, less-human-centered perspective to one where we can appreciate plants for themselves, with no question of value or worth to us? As Robert Harrison writes in his book, Gardens. An Essay on the Human Condition:
We historically have lived as if the earth was given for us
…a privileged environment…with no sense of responsibilities towards its care. We saw ourselves as consumers and receivers.
Two interconnected projects are presented in this exhibition– a large-scale installation of photographic images of closely observed native flora, printed on paper and dipped in melted beeswax.
And as a counterpoint, over 200 little pollen colour drawings, rendered in powdery, soft pastel.
To this, taxonomist Lincoln Best, adds a third thread, a selection of entomological specimens, collected from the myriad diversity of native bees that inhabit this unique region of our province, the southern interior.
The exquisitely mounted native bees, the pollen studies and the botanical images, represent a mere fragment of the diversity of the native flora and fauna found in the Southern Okanagan Valley, but scientist and artist hope that this limited representation will inspire viewers to explore the wonders to be found in our beautiful, but diminishing natural environments.
In honour of World Bee Day, May 20, 2019, I’ve created a composite of experimental cyanotype works using actual bee specimens. (Only dead bees found in the garden were used here). With the 3-dimensional bee forms, the resulting images have considerable blur — where the bee actually touches the sensitized paper, the silhouette of the bee is recorded with some degree of clarity, but in other areas, the forms are more ambiguous. In terms of the text, the work of British poet, Carol Ann Duffy came to mind; her book “The Bees” is a marvellous compendium of her ruminations on bees, on us, and our relationship to the environment. I’ve used fragments from two of her poems to create this animation.
In midwinter, when there are no bees and no flowers in bloom (or very few), and inside work takes precedence, sorting and sifting through images, specimens, and texts becomes the focus. All, in preparation of the new upcoming season.
This winter also, Brian and Crystine Campbell graciously featured some of my work in their 2019 seed catalogue, Uprising Seeds. (UprisingSeeds.com). Thank you so much, Brian and Crystine!
One of the most engaging aspects of my study of pollinators and their floral resources, is that of pollen. So, here is a small selection of some of the unusual colours that I’ve collected — some of the blues!
I’ve included only one native bee in this short animation, a sweat bee, an Agapostemon sp, from the Halictidae family. Not only are these brilliant little bees beautiful, but they even have the capacity to sonicate, or buzz pollinate flowers. What can be more amazing to see than a glorious metallic green bee, with blue eyes, and with blue pollen on its hind legs?