The University Art Museum at California State University Long Beach (CSULB) presents the exhibition Jessica Rath: A Better Nectar, on view until April 12.
Using research from the Leonard Bee Laboratory in Reno, Nevada, artist and CalArts alumna Jessica Rath (Art MFA 96) creates an expansive multisensory installation, with a score composed by alumnus Robert Hoehn (Music BFA 94) and performed by the CSULB Bob Cole Conservatory of Music Chamber Choir. A Better Nectar consists of three sculptural works with lights and sounds that take humans on a bee’s sensorial journey as it learns to find quality nectar through cues from flowers.
The exhibit’s highlight is Resonant Nest, a responsive acoustic sculpture that takes the form of a human-scaled bumblebee nest. Human voice interpretation of bee communications emanates from the sculpture, which changes in response to the weather, season, time of day, and whether a visitor is in the gallery.
Bee Purple gives audience members the chance to see the world through a bee’s eyes. The work depicts a bee’s perception of color, which shifts to the ultraviolet spectrum and completely omits the color red. It follows a bee’s visual path from nest to flower, with intermittent flashes of rhythmic floral patterns in purples, yellows and aqua-greens that signal nectar.
Staminal Evolution examines the phenomenon of buzz pollination, or sonication, wherein bees rapidly contract their indirect flight muscles to produce strong vibrations that forcibly expel pollen out from inside the flower’s anthers, “turning themselves into living tuning forks,” according to the Bee Lab’s entomologist Dr. Stephen Buchmann. Rath’s large sculptures depict tomato and native Manzanita flower stamens emitting the frequencies of buzz pollination.
Along with the installation is a “Research Center” that features Rath’s photo essay of the Bee Lab and live feeds of California native flower specimens.
Above is a slideshow of photos from A Better Nectar.
Jessica Rath: A Better Nectar
Jan. 27 through April 12
University Art Museum, California State University Long Beach
1250 N. Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach