On Friday evening, dozens of nature lovers and art fans converged on Fair Park's Texas Discovery Gardens for the opening of Global Swarming, a show of oil and encaustic artwork that explores Colony Collapse Disorder, the mysterious phenomenon that's destroying bee colonies worldwide and has farmers in a panic. The collection of local artists -- who will be conducting educational workshops in the gardens' classroom during the State Fair -- used beeswax, pigment and collage to make points about the problem, whose cause remains unclear but is thought to be tied to pesticides and genetically modified foods.
"I'm a naturalist, but I'm also an artist, and those things go together really well," said Janet Reynolds, the show's curator and a painting teacher who gives classes out of her Little Forest Hills home and Deep Ellum studio. "We want to raise awareness and get the word out about Colony Collapse Disorder."
Hope, Reynolds's broad oil that shows one lone honey bee flying upward into a gathering storm, is meant to show the bees' plight but also the human condition, she says; and Shrine, a beeswax rendering of a Queen bee encased in glass, is intended to honor the queen's crucial role not only within the hive but also in vast ecosystems and the human food supply.
As people wandered through the exhibit drinking wine and strolled through the gardens to admire the flowers and butterflies, Brandon and Susan Pollard from the Texas Honeybee Guild were on hand to give out homemade "Honeystix Bundles" made with the honey from their East Dallas bee colonies. "One stick = the life of 12 bees," read a handmade sign on the basket. The intention: to celebrate the insects' contributions, and to lament their decimation.
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Teri Lueders's Toxicity, an oil and encaustic with rich reds and oranges, shows a honey bee alighting on a bright flower and extracting what appears to be damaged pollen -- denoted by copper nails embedded in the pigment and cornmeal at the center of the blossom.
They Paved Paradise, a series by Cheryl McClure, combines oil, encaustic and collage to show honeycomb images floating in yellows and greens. "Put away that DDT now," block print reads, "Give me spots on my apples but LEAVE me the birds and the bees, Please!"
The show runs through January, and Reynolds said the artists will give talks and lead tours on Thursdays and Fridays during the Fair. The art's on sale at prices ranging from $200 to $1,000 per piece.