Majesty of nature on show in Beautiful Swarm exhibition

07/12/2017

If you find insects irritating or cringe at the idea of a swarm of them, perhaps a new exhibition by textile artist Jan Clark, opening next month at Newcastle’s Timeless Textiles Gallery, will change your mind.

The Beautiful Swarm exhibition, Jan’s third at Timeless Textiles, brings the glory of nature to life in a sea of colour.

Clark sees a swarm of insects as evidence of the abundance of life. For her it is life affirming and startles her with the brilliance of colour, texture and movement. Her exhibition seeks to capture and celebrate this display. She draws on this resource for the textiles in this latest exhibition.

“I have always been drawn to insects,” the locally-based artist says. “I lean closer to take in their minute beauty, shape, colour, transparency and lustre.”

Clark’s work has always been entwined with the natural world. Completing a Bachelor of Natural History Illustration (Hons) at the University of Newcastle has informed and enriched her textile work.

“I have documented my local environments for 10 years and this is the basis for my entire body of work,” she said. “It encompasses large painterly textiles to smaller meticulous scientific illustration of insect species using coloured pencil. At the moment moths have much of my attention.”

Beautiful Swarm is Clark’s vision of the textures and colours of moths, with beetles, dragonflies and cicadas. She has used many different fabrics, mostly scraps, to create her mixed media works. The works are layered constructions on net forming vertical panels of texture, imagery and glitter.

“I have tried to convey the softness and lightness, both physical and optical, of these beasties and also the infinite variety of patterning.”

Individual insects inhabit box frames (silver) and collections are arrayed in real entomological specimen boxes (black). Clark stresses that no insects were harmed in the making of the exhibition, with butterfly wings foraged from the forest floor. These delightful works will give you a new perspective on insects.

Beautiful Swarm will run at Timeless Textiles from 6- 24 December 2017.

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