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Bark Beetle Collaboration


This piece is part of a series of artworks called “Collaborations with Animals”. In this case the animal in question is the bark beetle. The tunnels carved into a log by bark beetles are carefully mapped and digitally transferred to a CNC router that carves the patterns into plywood.

The ancient wood cutting process of beetles is translated into the most high-tech wood cutting process of humans.

Unlike most art with shapes and lines determined by the will and aesthetics of the artist, the lines and shapes in this piece are the direct result of the beetles’ lives. Far from random marks, the trails left by the beetles reflect an extremely complex and mysterious set of circumstances that include instinct, chemistry, wood hardness, weather, the drive to reproduce, life and death, time and growth to name a few.

By shifting the focus from my own personal, human aesthetic choices to the mark-making of an insect, I hope to put the processes of life on earth front and center in the art experience.

I also get a perverse pleasure out of raising the value of a piece of nice plywood by riddling it with bug holes.

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