“Pest” Art Installation at Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory

Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory is pleased to host “Pest: Hybrid insect sculptures by the thousands”, a visual art installation by artist Amy Swartz. The installation is comprised of 12 collection cases each containing carefully crafted scenes staged by Swartz’s unique creations that combine insects with various artificial parts. All of the insects used in Swartz’s art died of natural causes and some of the insects on display were donated by Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. “Pest” was funded by The Toronto Arts Council and The Ontario Arts Council. “Pest” is on Exhibit at Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory from Feb 26 – July 3, 2013. Regular Admission applies.

Join Amy Swartz for an Artist’s Tour:

April 14th, 2:30pm Regular Admission applies.

“Swartz constructs a world where monstrous butterflies are herded by a game crew of winged warriors, or warrior bees stand off against a rag-tag crew of lesser bugs in an epic entomological confrontation. Subversive science, conceptual process, a cheekily critical reprisal of the consistant human urge to cast away any and all lesser creatures as decorative and at our disposal. “Pest” is all these things and more.”

– Murray White, Toronto Star

Artist’s Biography

Amy Swartz is a Toronto‐based artist with an MFA from York University, a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design and a BA from Trent University in Cultural Studies. She creates highly detailed and meticulously crafted collections that combine both natural and artificial materials in miniature sculptures. Her work explores the idea of obsession — not only in the practice of art, but also in humanity’s general perception regarding our control over nature, life, and death. As R.M. Vaughan wrote “Swartz makes even the tiniest deaths meaningful (and, yes, morbidly funny).” Her work has been showcased in Canadian Art Magazine, The Toronto Star (where Pest was listed as one of the ten art installations that ‘Got it Right’), The Globe and Mail, Now (where Pest was listed among the week’s ‘Must See Art’), and Grid Magazine. The Toronto Star recently concluded, “the buzz — if you’ll pardon the pun — was unstoppable. In a set of vitrines at the Angell Gallery, Swartz put on display her extraordinarily beautiful, creepy compulsion…. It was one of those things you don’t question why, how or who — you’re just happy it’s here and that you had the good luck to stop in for a look.”

Artist’s Statement

My large-scale collections of extremely small-scale hybrid pieces are intended to foster a sense of wonder and intimacy with the natural, imaginary and everyday world that is generally overlooked. The vast accretion of sculptural specimens for the installation Pest has also become a place of obsessive over‐collection. This work is my reflection on the restrained chaos of life, our own pest-like behavior as a species, as well as our absurd attempt to control the natural world and our mortality. My intention is for this work to serve as a metaphor for overpopulation and extinction while at the same time retaining the sense of life’s beauty and eccentricity, allowing us to contemplate things imagined, feared, longed for and lost. Click here to visit Amy Swartz’s website >