[Photo credit: Aisha Singleton]
Buzz pollination is a co-adaptation between certain bees and the angiosperms (flowering plants) they pollinate that require sonication, or vibratory resonance, to release pollen. Over evolutionary time, the shape of the anthers within the flowers’ stamens became closed vessels with a limited opening pore or slit. These incredible shapes and the vibrations that open them are the subject of these watercolors and sculptures that were included in the show “Buzz Pollination: Slits, Pores and Valves” (2014, Theodore Payne Foundation, Sun Valley, CA).
Studying flowers at the Theodore Payne Foundation inspired a deeper investigation into buzz pollination of native California flora that resulted in choosing the following flowers as the subject of “A Better Nectar.”
Cassiope mertensiana, Western Moss Heather, Native
Solanum xanti, Chaparral Nightshade, Native, At TPF
Solanum lycopersicum, Tomato, Native to Mexico
Arctostaphylos ‘Howard McMinn’, Howard McMinn Manzanita, Native
Also included in the exhibition were human-voice score–interpretations of bee tonal values–created in collaboration with experimental music composer Robert Hoehn and vocalist Carla Rigolin Hassett. This is the sound resonating through TPF’s plate glass windows, whispering both inside the gallery and outside.