Exhibition by Wisconsin-based artist Jennifer Angus blends contemporary art and entomology, with a touch of humor, runs at the Anderson Gallery through February 22.
Just over ten years ago, Jennifer Angus was researching traditional textile design in Thailand when she encountered the use of iridescent green beetle wings on a tribal garment. Similar to a sequin, the shell-like wing was applied as an embellishment. Angus, an internationally recognized textile artist and current professor in the Design Studies department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was immediately drawn to this non-traditional material—the insect–as a design element. Fast-forward ten years and you can now find the most recent incarnation of Angus’ interest in the beauty of the bug within her current installation at the Anderson Gallery, Drake University.
“Jennifer Angus: Magpie Tendencies” opened at the Anderson Gallery in Drake’s Harmon Fine Arts Center on Friday, January 18, and remains on display through February 22. The exhibition presents a multi-layered installation designed specifically for the Anderson Gallery. The gallery walls are transformed by hand-printed wallpaper designed by the artist and recalling Victorian textiles. The perimeter of the gallery is tenderly embellished and patterned three-dimensionally by a portion of Angus’ collection of over 30,000 tropical insects, pinned in an array of designs. Known in the art world as ‘the bug lady,’ Angus continues to explore the decorative properties of insects in small framed works, while also incorporating them into her curio cabinet tableaus based on Victorian cabinets of curiosities. Six unique ‘cabinets’ are displayed in the gallery, each presenting a cast of insect characters enacting scenes of a domestic, spiritual or social nature. Bugs visiting a museum, bugs attending a funeral, bugs working together to weave brightly-colored strands of cotton into a yarn: nothing is out of the realm of possibilities.
Ms. Angus is also exhibiting two of her recent digital stop-motion films. In an area adjoining the screening room, students from Drake Professor Angela Battle’s course ‘microcosm macrocosm’ will present ‘The Wonder Room,’ an installation responding to the concepts nested within cabinets of curiosities and the work of Jennifer Angus. The students will present their work in a public discussion on Wednesday, February 13 at 5:00pm.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Anderson Gallery will also host a gallery talk with the artist at 6 p.m. Friday, February 22. The talk will take place during the closing reception for the exhibition, which runs from 5 to 7 p.m.
About the Anderson Gallery
The Anderson Gallery was established in 1996 as a dedicated space for the exploration of contemporary art and design. Additionally, the gallery hosts curated exhibitions of historically significant work, as well as annual showcases of student work from the Department of Art and Design. The gallery is a not-for-profit branch of the College of Arts and Sciences at Drake University, occupying a versatile 1800 sq. ft. space on the first floor of the Harmon Fine Arts Center.
The Anderson Gallery is open six days a week: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Friday through Sunday, 12 p.m to 4 p.m; and extended hours on Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. The gallery is closed on Mondays and during University holidays. Additional information is available by calling 515-271-1994 or by visiting www.artsci.drake.edu/andersongallery.