Flight of the Monarch- Artist Statement

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This exhibition encompasses the theme of development and growth achieved by means of a journey. Comprised of both early and current works, the lifespan narrative of the Monarch butterfly is shown as it progresses from caterpillar and chrysalis (2012), to emerging as butterfly and the migration journey it spans over four generations (2016). In addition to the literal narrative, a story of Christian spirituality is also embedded within the work.

 Metamorphosis- from caterpillar to chrysalis (2012)

The series begins with a black and white colour scheme, as that is all Monarch caterpillar is able to see. The selective colouring (pink) has been used to show how the chrysalis acts as the catalyst bringing transformation from caterpillar to butterfly in the life of the Monarch. Only after emerging from the chrysalis is the Monarch able to see in colour, and better yet- in the ultraviolet spectrum.

On a spiritual note, the black and white represents the natural/physical way of viewing the world, whereas the progression to full colour highlights the increase in depth and visual insight   by the butterfly. This can be likened to an increase in ‘vision’ and direction in life and direction someone can find through faith in Christ. The pink chrysalis is also symbolic of God’s perfect, flawless love, and how this can be a catalyst for bringing about inner change and transformation in an individual’s life.

The Great Migration (2016)

The second half of the work shows the journey of the monarch as well as the diversity of landscapes encountered along the journey. The compositions for the landscapes were created using google maps by ‘zooming in’ and taking screenshots of various locations where a monarch might travel on its journey. The created perspective is like that of the butterfly viewing the landscape from a bird’s eye perspective. In addition, the paintings are laid flat on the floor where they are viewed from above, thus increasing the viewer’s sensation of viewing the landscapes in a way that resembles aerial photography.

To further the notion of different viewpoints and spirituality, the butterfly/landscape works can be viewed under three different light settings- daylight, ultraviolet light, and in the dark (glow in the dark). Viewed in daylight, this is like seeing the world from a completely physical perspective, where ‘seeing is believing’. In contrast, viewing the work under ultraviolet light is like the inner thoughts and depth of the mind. Illuminated is the conflict and contrast between the aqua colour (representing spirit/God’s will) and the red/orange tones (sinful nature/destruction/deception). This is like the tug-of-war inside the human mind between what is right and what is wrong.  Then, the third and final means of viewing is in the pitch blackness where only the aqua colour remains. This represents the spiritual aspect of mankind and the ever-present spirit of God that works in and around those who have faith in Him. It also seeks to reveal the hidden nature of God and show that not everything is as it first seems- that there is more to life than meets the eye.

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