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Jun
18

Weeks and weeks ago a friend turned me on to these delicate, gorgeous, tiny paper flowers constructed by bees.   Summer is here, more or less, so now seems a good time to share.

Kathleen Masterson passed these images and information to my friend, who has passed them to me.   I feel lucky to share it with all of you.

Bee Flower Art

by Kathleen Masterson

Images courtesy of Jerome Rozen/American Museum of Natural History

When we think of bee nests, we often think of a giant hive, buzzing with social activity, worker bees and honey. But scientists recently discovered a rare, solitary type of bee that makes tiny nests by plastering together flower petals.

The O. avoseta bee builds a tiny nest about a half-inch long using petals from the flower Onobrychis viciifolia. Each nest usually houses a single egg. Each nest is a multicolored, textured little cocoon — a papier-mache husk surrounding a single egg, protecting it while it develops into an adult bee.

“It’s not common for bees to use parts of plants for nests,” says Dr. Jerome Rozen of the American Museum of Natural History of the unexpected find. His team stumbled across the nests of the Osima (Ozbekosima) avoseta bee in Turkey. Oddly enough, another team discovered the same bee and flowery nests in Iran on the same day. The two teams published their research together in the American Museum Novitates.

One mother bee may make as many as ten nests, often nestling the single-cell berths near each other.

These Thumbelina-like nests are a fascinating natural work of art, but they’re also key to understanding more about how the roughly 20,000 species of bees live.

“There’s a demand for biologists to know bees nowadays,” Rosen says. “They are the foremost animal pollinators of plants, and tremendously important for maintaining ecosystems — not only crops but also for conservation.”

To learn more, the scientists watched the busy mama bees. Building a nest takes a day or two, and….the nests are often right next to each other. ( A bouquet!)  To begin construction, she bites the petals off of flowers and flies each petal — one by one — back to the nest, a peanut-sized burrow in the ground.

A bee closely related to O. avoseta bites off a flower petal with its mandibles.

She then shapes the multi-colored petals into a cocoon-like structure, laying one petal on top of the other and occasionally using some nectar as glue. When the outer petal casing is complete, she reinforces the inside with a paper-thin layer of mud, and then another layer of petals, so both the outside and inside are wallpapered — a potpourri of purple, pink and yellow.

Peeling back the outer layer of flower petals reveals the paper-thin mud layer.

These meticulous shells are just over a half-inch long and usually will house just one tiny egg. To prepare for her offspring, the mother collects pollen and nectar, which she carries back to the burrow in a nifty part of the digestive tract called the crop. She deposits this gooey blob of nutritional goodness in the bottom of the flower-petal nest. Then, she lays the egg, right on top of the gelatinous blob. The mother bee lays a single egg in the flowery bower, right on top of a nutritious deposit of nectar and pollen.

At this point, it’s time to seal in the egg. The mother bee neatly folds in the inner layer of petals, smears a paper-thin mud layer and then folds the outer petals. The casing is nearly airtight, which helps protect the vulnerable egg (and later larva, then pupa) from flooding or excessive dryness or hoofed animals.

In only three to four days, the egg hatches into a larva. When it finishes feasting on the nectar, the larva spins a cocoon (still inside the shell, which has hardened into a protective casing by this point) and then hangs out. Rosen says he isn’t sure whether it spends the winter as a larva or as an adult. But at some point the creature’s tissue begins to restructure itself, and it transforms into an adult. Come springtime, the adult bee emerges from its flowery bower.

Then, the cycle starts all over again.


Nov
12

jeff-mem-reflecting-pool-8-x-10No matter where she goes to hang her hat, Jackson’s plein air artist  Kathryn Mapes Turner paints the landscape.  As a fourth generation Triangle X Ranch family member — the famed dude ranch is located in Grand Teton National Park — Turner grew up observing wilderness and ranch life in one of the most spectacular landscapes on earth.

Even Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman noted Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park’s exquisite beauty while referencing  the annual Fed Economic Summit that takes place there.

Turner also has strong Washington D.C. ties.  She finds beauty in that city’s historic, classical landscape, an expansive city conceived as the seat of our country’s government.  D.C.’s architecture is influenced by ancient Egypt,  Greece and Rome and 19th century France.

For Turner, painting is a language expressing  her deep appreciation of the world around her. “My paintings are my response to what I find magnificent. This magnificence can be found everywhere from the monumental to the mundane,” she says.

“Magnifique,” a collection of new paintings and drawings by Turner, opens Friday November 13, at Susan Calloway Fine Arts, in Washington.   An opening reception is scheduled that evening from 6-8 pm.   The show remains up through December 12th, 2009.

Says the gallery of Turner’s work, “Her superb drawing ability and familiarity with her subjects allow her to break at will from pure representation, successfully abstracting her subject matter without losing its essence. She moves seamlessly from watercolor to oil without changing her style, using each medium to its fullest extent to bolster her own style, rather than changing her style to suit the medium. This show will feature her cityscapes, landscapes and figurative works.”

Turner lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she is represented by Trio Fine Art.

For information, contact Susan Calloway Fine Arts by telephoning 202.965.4601; or email gallery@callowayart.com.


Item #2:

flintplacesiveneverbeenContemporary Western artist Matt Flint, an artist featured at Lyndsay McCandless Contemporary, is one of six artists to be highlighted at the Wyoming Arts Council’s Biennial Fellowship Exhibit.

The exhibit is on display at Wyoming’s State Museum through January 9, 2010.  An opening reception took place November 5th. The earth tones and primal forms Flint uses in his work bring cave paintings to mind; natural forms and images of birds seem scratched on ancient rock.   Check the Wyoming Arts Council website for full details.



Feb
08

February 6, last Friday afternoon, the U.S. Senate approved by a vote of 73-24 an amendment put forth as part of the economic recovery bill by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). The amendment included this text: “None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project.”

According to Americans for the Arts, this amendment would preclude many arts groups from receiving any stimulus funding.

My own gripe is that the arts have been lumped in with casinos, golf courses, and stadiums.  The amendment’s wording is underhanded; arts stimulus packages should be considered separately from such entities.   That the arts will suffer is a given, at least in the short term.   But equating the arts with institutions created specifically to relieve people of their hard-earned dollars is not acceptable.  Casinos employ untold numbers of people; the arts do, too.  Their raisons d’etre, though, could not be more polarized.

To read the full article describing the amendment and proposing action you may want to take to protest this amendment, click here.

End.


Jan
31

The message at Lyndsay McCandless Contemporary is CHANGE.  Somehow, in a sour economy for most Jackson Hole Galleries, LMC keeps on happening.  The large, loft-like space sitting at Jackson Street level has transformed itself into a place for happenings, 60′s style.  2009′s version of a record player is a d.j. named Mr. Whipple ( a 1960′s and 70′s lab-coated, bespectacled advertising character hawking toilet tissue–nice, soft toilet tissue ), wall art is the new tie dye, and a  communal creativity prevails.   Getting any attention in today’s art market is real tough;  galleries are asking their artists to go small, in order to bring down price points.  Three Jackson Hole galleries I know of have closed in as many months.   Galleries with strong client stables are calling upon those clients more often.

LMC is the Madonna of Jackson Hole art galleries, working feverishly to stay fresh. Author readings, AIVO, children’s art, musicians in white vans rocking the night away, fire throwing, collaborations with non-profits, joining 1% for the Tetons (says you feel confident you have enough net income capital to donate, going forward, and you’re comfortable providing full access to your income ledger, and you are going with green marketing, and you get your picture taken by the very cool David Swift),  openly political art projects.   With the exception of regularly scheduled art openings around town, there’s no other action of the sort LMC provides monthly.

So what’s going on over there?

McCandless has a marketing background and she’s pumping it up.  Her next happening, pARTicipate for Change,  gets hopping this coming First Friday, Februrary 6, 5:30-7:30 pm.  The project keeps Obamamania going–I’m all over that.

Here’s the skinny: This First Friday, you can’t just show up to eat  organic pizza (Where was that yummy pizza January 20, at Pub Place?  We ate bad cafeteria food! Even kids pushed that stuff around on the plate.  The dancing, however, was FAB! )  This coming Friday, all comers are asked to actively participate in the creation of a work that will come to life on a wall-sized piece of canvas. Create to the theme of participating for change, and the finished product will be photographed and sent to the President.  We audaciously hope!  We hope with audacity?  I’m still stuck on the “hopefully” grammar thing.

“I also want people to experience that excitement and joy of acquiring a
piece of art…so we will be giving away small pieces of art all night
to everyone who walks in the door. Maybe it will create a mini-trading
sensation,” says McCandless.

Here’s some ways to participate:

1. Hang/install your artwork, up to three pieces, framing optional.    Explore “Change.”

2. Contribute to the free-art collection. ( LM: “I am taking old photos/paintings/sketches and cutting them up into mini-art pieces (@ 2″ x 3″). I have one that Alissa Davies gave me in September as her ‘card’. I carry it around in my wallet as a little transportable piece of art that makes me smile. I will write on the back of all of them “www.lmcontemporary.com Art It Forward”)

Lyndsay!  I love you!  You used single quotations around a word! ( ‘card’ ) I get in trouble from Swift when I do that on Tammy & David Fight About Movies!  You go girl!  You mean, by single quotes, that the card isn’t a real business card, but you use it as such, it has that spirit, that function, is some way related to the entity “business card.”   Did we go to the same high school? Did you have Miss Cole for English class?

3. Bring art supplies/inspiration to use for the art wall-markers, sharpies, charcoal, adhesive stuff, photos, scraps of paper, crayons, safety pins, post-its,—paint requires lots of extra’s, brushes, water, containers—”but we
could make it work!”

Artists need to get their work to LMC by Wednesday, February 4.

Artists who have signed up (I’ve corrected spelling as far as I can; apologies for any remaining misspelled names!)

Anthony Birkholz…video installation
Nicole Burdick and Micah Richardson…ice installation
Bland Hoke…Center of Wonder Public Art ambassador
Amy Larkin
Bronwyn Minton
Alissa Davies
Babs Case
Rachel Kunkle
Ben Carlson
Susan Thulin
Emma Adkisson
Bryce Billings
Ashely Hogge
Jeremy Kusmin
Rich Goodwin
Steven Glass

Gone Missing Teton Art Lab will make an appearance, with its own installation.

Visit www.lmcontemporary.com, or call 307-734-0649/cell: 307-413-4331.

End.

Jan
28

It’s Wyoming native Jackson Pollock’s birthday today!  He’s an Aquarian.  Of course!   Have fun scribbling!