28 × 21 cm | 8 × 11 in
70 ills | 96 pages
Artist: Gail Wight
Contributors: Lawrence Weschler, Iain Boal, Meredith Tromble
In The Hexapodarium, artist Gail Wight presents us with fictional flora 65 million years in the future, where insects have evolved to mimic plants. Filled with beautiful and detailed floral specimens, The Hexapodarium echoes the great botanical collections of previous centuries. These flowers are utterly unique, however, constructed entirely from the wings of ordinary house flies. They were created using composite photography, from high-resolution microscopic images of flies that expired in the artist’s studio during a particularly hot summer. Each flower alludes to a contemporary plant species, reflected in its Latin binomial: part-flower, part-fly.
In turn, The Hexapodarium’s flowers become the palette for Land of the Flies, presented as a gatefold in four seasons. These frieze-like futuristic landscapes are built from hundreds of composited layers of flowers, flies and other interloping flora and fauna.
Three authors weigh in on The Hexapodarium: Lawrence Weschler, New Yorker columnist and author of Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees and True to Life: Twenty-Five Years of Conversation with David Hockney, engages Wight in a conversation traversing Darwin’s voyages on the HMS Beagle, Dutch vanitas paintings and the making of The Hexapodarium.
Iain Boal, social historian of technics and the commons and co-author of Resisting the Virtual Life and Afflicted Powers, sees The Hexapodarium as an art for the Anthropocene, where we relinquish our hold on the future and engage in celebrating those creatures surrounding us that have survived multiple epochs, and hold the promise of evolutionary wiles.
Meredith Tromble ties it all together, placing The Hexapodarium in the larger scope of Wight’s works of art. For decades, Wight has focused on life forms other than our own. Evolution, cognition, the animal state-of-being and deep time have been a source of biological allegory for Wight’s playful and provocative creations.
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