a better nectar
Hand Art Center & Gillespie Musuem, Stetson University, Deland, FL
January 26 — March 3, 2018

Wednesday, January 24 7:00 pm
Artist Talk and Reception, Gillespie Museum

Thursday, January 25 7:00 – 8:00 pm
Lecture with Jessica Rath and Robert Hoehn, 25L Dupont Ball Library

Friday, January 26  6:00 pm
Opening Reception, Hand Art Center

The traveling exhibition a better nectar is an expansive multisensory installation through which the tender co-evolutionary communication between flowering plants and their pollinators is unearthed. Rath creates an immersive rhythmic experience, using sculpture light, and sound, to consider how bumblebees learn and remember multisensory floral signals to find better nectar.

Opening on January 26, 2018 at Stetson University, the exhibition is divided between the Hand Art Center (HAC) and the Gillespie Museum. The center piece at the HAC is “Resonant Nest,” a multi-sensory, human-scaled bumblebee nest that resonates human voice interpretations of bee communication composed by long-time collaborator Robert Hoehn. “Bee Purple” immersive light projections emulate bees’ spectrally shifted experience of the color wavelengths that attract them to floral patterns and nectar. On exhibit at the Gillespie is the seven-foot  “Staminal Evolution,” a sculpture is based on flowers that require “buzz pollination,” a process in which bees vibrate a certain frequency to open the flower and thus release its pollen. The exhibit also includes different “Research Stations” at both locations, featuring the artist’s watercolors studies of flowers, a microscope with local flora specimens, a photo essay from the Leonard Bee Lab. 

At both two locations, visitors are provided with a human-scaled experience of a bee’s intimate sensorial journey from its underground nest to an audibly and visually pulsating world, based on the Rath’s research with Dr. Anne Leonard at the Leonard Bee Lab, University of Nevada, Reno.

A Better Nectar was originally organized by the artist and curator Kristina Newhouse of the University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach. The project is an interdisciplinary undertaking between the artist and her collaborators, CSU departments of Music and Education, and some of the countries leading and most innovative bee scientists. Generous support for the exhibition is provided by Lauren Bon and The Metabolic Studio, The Peter S. Reed Foundation, The Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, and a Mid-Career Fellowship for the artist from the California Community Foundation.

A 96 page catalog was designed by Casa Marengo, edited by curator Kristina Newhouse and features the artist’s process and essays by Dr. Anne Leonard and Dr. Antonia Szabari and Dr. Natania Meeker, co-authors of  Who Will Remember Us, Plants and the Archive (Edinburgh University Press). The catalog is available through the artist and the publisher, University Art Museum, CSULB.

(University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach–January 27 – April 12, 2015; The College of New Jersey Art Gallery–February 2  – April 9, 2017)