"Variability of Knowing"
643 Project Space
643 Ventura Ave. Ventura, CA 93001
Opening December 7th 6-9pm
Curated by Kristine Schomaker
In 2004, Terry Arena began making detailed renderings of bees inspired by colony collapse disorder (CCD). While researching the environmental crisis of the loss of bees, the process of searching inspired new installation work. The vastness of information available with the advent of technology is awe-inspiring yet can be misleading at times or redundant without clear resolutions. Working in repetitive themes, “Variability of Knowing” is the representation of that search.
Arena’s drawings are made on repurposed food tins and are often arranged in metaphorical “swarms”. In addition to the drawings she uses bell jars as a vehicle for exhibiting many of her drawing models. The bell jars refer to Victorian taxidermy curiosities, but also to their use in gardens to keep seedlings warm. Bell jars are protectors of living and dead objects. Arena has also incorporated magnifying glasses as part of this installation. Aside from the literal use of magnifiers as tools to see, their linked repetition suggests the process of information gathering and how understanding is forged, sometimes to no end. Using a range of processes to explore CCD and the acquisition of knowledge, Arena’s work considers the complex web of relationships between information, human, and bee.
Growing up in the agriculture rich areas of Southern California Arena was very aware of the effect nature can have on culture. One of her most recent projects, “Symbiotic Crisis”, deals with the plight of the bees and the ancillary effects on the environment and society. The first three iterations of this project were shown in the back of a box truck to reference the transporting of the bees nationwide to pollinate crops. Working within the tradition of still life, Arena draws on prepared metal surfaces with graphite and installs the drawings in clusters reminiscent of bee swarms. Her work has been shown at Thinkspace Gallery, Culver City the Museum of Art and History, Lancaster and the Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard. She currently lives and works in Ventura, CA.