Bruissement, 2015; No Vertical Song, 2015
No Vertical Song, 2015
The Dead Bee Portraits # 2, #7, #13,
Pigment print on Canson baryta paper
Courtesy of the artist and Two Rooms, Auckland
Bee Wing Photograms #10 #11
Pigment prints on Canson baryta paper
Courtesy of the artist, Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch and Bartley and Company Art, Wellington.
Artist and beekeeper, Anne Noble, has developed a number of projects in recent years concerned with the global decline of the honey bee; a worrying trend that has been observed since the 1990’s. The ecosystems we are dependent on for food production rely on bees and other pollinating insects. These pollinators are being adversely affected by industrial agriculture, pesticides, parasites/pathogens and climate change, as well as the loss of biodiversity due to monoculture planting for mass food production. In her work Anne employs antique photographic and scientific imaging technologies and all that contemporary print technologies offer. Her photographs of bees are made using found specimen slides, Anne’s own homemade microscope and an electronic scanning microscope. Noble sees the bees as both a living system under stress and a model for our own society. As she says, ‘what is happening to the bees, we are likely also to do to ourselves’.
No Vertical Song
No Vertical Song is a series of portraits of dead bees, photographed as if they are items in the collection of an imaginary museum for the bee from a time in the future when the bee no longer exists. Perhaps in a process even more alchemic than silver based photography, these bee portraits were made with a scanning electron microscope, an imaging process that employs an electron beam that is excited by the element gold. The technology traces a strange surface without the translucency visible light would give - lending these bees an aged quality as if they have been covered with a layer of dust. While they might forecast a future without bees they are intended as an elegiac reminder of the importance of our present relationship to the natural world.
Bruissement #10 #11
Two photograms from a larger series of 15 works entitled Bruissement - a word that in french describes the sound of wings or the softest rustle of leaves. They are the imprints of the detached wings of bees that Noble collected from beekeepers whose hives had died from a toxic mix of cold, starvation, pathogens and parasites. Unfolding like long Chinese scrolls, the delicate traceries and looming shadows evoke both a ghostly and angelic presence but also point to the potential absence of a species.
Pictured: Anne Noble, Dead Bee Portrait #13, 2015