Insects and Lies

Caterpillars 2009 dyed string

Cole as Beetle 2009 felt and foam c-type photo

Wasp Beetle, Caterpillars, Argiope 2009 Barge House Oxo Tower

Insects and Lies

This below was written in the summer of 2014 for a workshop in the Kent Baton with Nicole Mollett children from The Isle of Grain about markings and protection.

The Insects series was made after spending many many hours in a field in Normandy, over several years, looking at the insects, drawing and photographing them, and seeing how these tiny creatures defended themselves.
I noticed that three different insects had similar markings, black and yellow, like our warning signs, and like the markings of wasps and hornets which both have big populations in the area. 
Hornet watercolour and pastels on paper

I saw that these creatures were imitating wasps and hornets to look poisonous and dangerous to protect themselves, the biological term for this is Batesian Mimicry. 
 Batesian mimicry in a field in Normandy

I have been making work for some years about protection. How do we protect our precious inner worlds, our sensitive selves, from harm in the world? I made costumes in response to these insects, imitating the imitators. Then I asked people to wear the costumes, and I photographed them.
Wasp Spider 2009 foam and felt

Cole as Beetle 2009 foam and felt

I also painted worms which have no defence but have to hide in the ground.
Worm 2009 watercolour on paper

Cole as Worm 2009 dyed string
Argiope (Wasp Spider) web drawing

I spent so much time in the field that I saw the habits of the Wasp Spider (or Arigope in French), how it marked its web, each spider differently. 

Argiope (Wasp Spider) and web

Argiope web
When danger approached (usually me) the spider shook its web violently, and the movement made the markings look like a bigger creature. So I deduced that the markings on the web were also a defence mechanism. 

Argiope egg/nest camouflaged in the grass
And they made nests for their eggs at the end of the summer which are very hard to spot. They guard these carefully.
Argiope with grasshopper
Here is one wrapping up a grasshopper.

All text and photographs copyright Victoria Rance 2014.
please ask permission for use.