ONTARIO, Canada — Canadian artist Aganetha Dyck creates contemporary ceramic art that seems like a comment on humanity’s close relationship with pollinating insects. Drawing on two decades of work with beekeepers and scientists, the artist coaxes bees to mend broken ceramics by coating them with wax and honeycomb.
Equal parts nature abhorring a vaccuum and a strange science fiction atmosphere, the sculptures are an extension of Dyck’s childhood fascination with porcelain figurines. She told The Creators Project that these figures were always beyond her reach and so she desired them. So in addition to being a comment about nature, it’s also a personal comment; the bees are repairing the artist as well.
Dyck deliberately chooses broken objects from second-hand markets and covers specific areas of the piece to attract the bees before placing them in the hive. She asserts that honeybees pay attention to details while “mending” the damaged parts with their honeycomb layers. She says, “While working with honeybees I discovered their methods of construction and their ability to mend the hive’s cracks and crevices with honeycomb, wax and propolis. I thought of the vast number of damaged figurines in antique shops and second-hand stores. I knew honeybees were masters of mending and decided to give a selection of these now unwanted, damaged, figurines to the honeybees. I was surprised that once the honeybees had mended the objects, the figurines became collectibles again.”
We’re fans of tech at CFile, particularly of CNC routing and 3D-printing. Something about Dyck’s work and her bees harkens back to that. Bees are natural, slower and less precise than a 3D printer, but the way in which Dyck works with them exposes their mechanical natures. A programmer like Dyck can rely on them to act in predictable ways each time. It blurs the line a little, suggesting that the bees have something in common with the unnatural world of machines.
Dyck is represented by Michael Gibson Gallery.
Bill Rodgers is the Managing Editor of cfile.daily.
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