pollination | 2013-2015
Pollination is a tour de force of sculpture, electronics, perfume, and mixed media art. Images of real and supernatural bees invite the viewer into a fertile exchange involving not only plants, but our very identity as human beings.
Dominating the exhibition is The Beekeeper, a floor to ceiling kinetic sculpture. Heaton built her eight primary chakras (centers of spiritual power in the body) to create what she refers to as “an energetic self-portrait.” At the heart of the sculpture, bees fly around an illuminated honeycomb rooted in a landscape of floral electronics. A reflective mind and crystalline third eye spiral up to a radiant sun of hands.
Heaton also created eight exquisite perfumes to correspond with her chakras. Bee The Flower is a limited edition artist’s toolbox for painting your body with perfume and “pollen.” Art supplies crafted by the artist support a luxurious experience that is visual, tactile, and olfactory. Two additional fragrances seduce the audience to experience Pollination through scent: Smells Like Weeds (The Queen of Hungry Spirits), a rare perfume made by Heaton using bee-friendly plants; and Smells Like Money (Hungry Spirits), a delicate perfume extracted from hundreds of dollar bills using the labor-intensive method of cold enfleurage. Perfume samples will be available for visitors to smell.
The muse for Pollination appears in a large mixed media work, Shamanic Bee. This visionary messenger begs for human attention to the plight of insect pollinators. Other works that urge our respect for nature include Weeds, a vitrine of exquisite silk flowers; Colony Collapse Disorder, an engineer’s interpretation of the honeybee epidemic; Emergency Queen Cell, a brass hive with an inverted Virgin Mary; The Monsanto Series, agricultural landscapes invaded by manmade devices; and This is the Problem, Not the Solution, a crossword puzzle of endangered pollinators and threats to their existence. Diseases of the Hive cautions against our own infestation by electronics.
The tone is not all ominous. Heaton presents whimsical kinetic sculptures that mimic flying bees. The largest of these, The Wedding Tree, is a pastel landscape enlivened by buzzing, motorized insects.
To complement the show, Kelly Heaton has written Pollination, a book documenting these works and the story of their creation.