New work: "Rare & Exquisite"

I'm not usually a huge fan of butterflies; maybe I've seen too many of them printed in pink and slapped on products for girls. Also, they're flying bugs. But I am fascinated by some of the associations and cultural baggage they carry.

WA-Taylor's checkerspot_by Judy Lantor USFWS flickr-2.jpg

Some time ago, I heard a local radio story about how a military base also provides a refuge for endangered animals, including butterflies.

  Credit: Sentinel Landscape program (USDA, Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Interior)

Credit: Sentinel Landscape program (USDA, Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Interior)

Environmental protection -- yay! -- but the irony of the program was even better. I was intrigued by the idea that a native species was safer among soldiers and artillery.

  Soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (photo credit: US Dept. of Defense)

Soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (photo credit: US Dept. of Defense)

Native, local and vulnerable... hmm. As an artist, I explored the vulnerability of black bodies in my recent solo museum exhibit. And I've heard so many conversations calling black people 'an endangered species' since the 1980s. So I fused the two ideas in these collages.

20180427_162122.jpg

I combined images from my family photo archive with photos of endangered butterflies from four regions of the United States.

20180430_140714.jpg

As a kid, I remembered being mildly curious about the Victorian hobby of "collecting" butterflies. Then I learned the brutal reality. So as I sketched out my collage idea, I drew on that violent history.

sealing railroad spikes (1) - Copy.jpg

The result is four large, dimensional collages I've titled "Rare & Exquisite." When you see them hung in a grid, they'll measure roughly six feet high by eight feet wide at the "Locally Sourced" exhibit. Want to hear more? Please join us at the reception on May 19th, at the Columbia City Gallery.