May 5, 2013

L-A show a true force of nature

Science and art merge in 'Pollinators: Evolving Miracles,' now up at USM's Atrium Gallery.

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Maya Kuvaja’s “Molecular Motion,” oil and acrylic transfer on panel

Images courtesy of Atrium Gallery

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Fred Michel’s “Sanguinaria Canadensis, Helleborus,” left, digital photograph

Courtesy of Atrium Gallery

Additional Photos Below



WHEN: Through June 7

WHERE: Atrium Art Gallery, University of Southern Maine-Lewiston Auburn, 51 Westminster St., Lewiston

HOURS: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday


INFO: 753-6500;

Sara Crisp of Cumberland took an unusual approach to her pieces in this show. She has often worked with encaustics or wax. For the two pieces she submitted for "Pollination," Crisp used pollen from lilies and tulips for her pigment, creating two abstract pieces that suggest sunlight and natural order but are not representational.

She described these pieces as experimental. "I was trying to see if I could find a way to say what I wanted to say just with pollen," Crisp said. "I use a lot of different pigments and a lot of different paints, and this was something new."

A little pollen goes a long way, she added. For each piece, she collected pollen from a small bunch of flowers.

Crisp has also admired Holman's sense of artistic adventure. The two have collaborated before, and Holman has given Crisp honeycombs to use in her work.

Holman had no trouble recruiting artists. She put out a national call for art, and also tapped her network of friends from around Maine to submit work.

She was surprised by the variety that came her way. Going into it, she was concerned that artists would submit mostly work about honey bees, because they have been in the news. She wanted honey bees in the show, but hoped to represent a variety of pollinators.

She got what she wanted.

Artist bookmaker Rebecca Goodale of Portland submitted work about wind pollination, and Peggy Johnson, also from Portland, submitted several insect pendants including beetles.

"Beetles aren't big pollinators, but they are part of the pollination world," Holman said.

One of the most delightful pieces came from Bernd Heinrich of Weld, who offered a few pages of field notes from his observational study of insects.

One page from his journal shows a bumblebee in flight surrounded by a sequence of drawings of a carrion beetle, which changes color in flight to mimic the bumblebee and thus avoid being consumed by birds. Birds have learned not to eat bumblebees to avoid being stung; carrion beetles have evolved to look like bees to avoid being eaten.

That's the miracle of nature -- and the draw of this show.

"I think it's fascinating how our plants and animals have evolved. The relationship between insects and animals have evolved along with flowering plants to get the job done," Holman said. "I turned to artists who could look with a sense of wonder to express that fascination."

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

Twitter: pphbkeyes


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Additional Photos

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Rob Kesseler’s hand-colored photo-micrograph of a greater stitchwort pollen grain

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Bernd Heinrich’s “Nicrophorus Tomentosus”

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Kathleen Florance’s “Moirai (Destiny),” relief ink, litho crayon

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Dan Dowd’s “Jack and Jill in the Pulpit,” found objects, photocopies and acrylic paint


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