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Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 21
Y/BEES? features a collaborative assemblage that focuses on honeybees
BY JOE PAYNE
All day, every day, honeybees are buzzing all around us, doing what they do best: the thankless job of pollinating most plants we enjoy by sight or taste as well as ones we’re not aware of. An exhibition of mixed media art that focuses on the honeybee, Y/BEES? has been extended for another month at the Santa Maria Public Library’s Shepard Hall.
Created by mixed media artists Patty Smith and Juan Manuel Perez Salazar, the exhibit explores many aspects of the honeybee, including its culture, output (honey), and behavior, and the effect human civilization has had on the tiny insect.
“I think each piece in there definitely speaks to honeybees and to the crisis they are in right now with colony collapse,” Smith said. “Some of them speak to our lack of knowledge and fear of bees.”
Smith and Perez Salazar both work in mixed media, meaning they combine aspects such as painting, assemblage, sculpture, and other visual forms. Many of the pieces in Y/BEES? include found objects.
“The big thing Juan has come on board with me for is a couple of trips to the desert,” Smith said. “We pulled a couple of cool things out of the desert, like nettle or discarded antiquities; it’s a pretty broad spectrum.”
Both Smith and Manuel Perez grew interested in bees after becoming amateur beekeepers. Smith took beekeeping community classes at Allan Hancock College, and Perez Salazar has been using bees to help revive family land in Mexico.
“So, in this process, we are informing our work with a lot of the politics and a lot of the work; some of it in reference to medicine, some of it is archaeological findings, some are cultural events that took place,” Perez Salazar said. “You realize, when you start to find this little creature is everywhere, we human beings have been cultivating this little creature as well.”
There are also some paintings from a series on flowers Perez Salazar did. These paintings served as part of the initial inspiration for the exhibit.
“For me, it’s like coming around,” he said. “I was painting flowers, but we have no flowers if not for bees.”
Both Perez Salazar and Smith are members of a local beekeepers club and hope to promote not just awareness of the plight of honeybee populations, but also inspire people to mobilize and start their own hives.
They hope to continue their show after it closes at the library, moving it to different, possibly international, locations, with more artists pitching in.
Buzz on by
The Santa Maria Public Library presents the exhibit Y/BEES? by Patty Smith and Juan Manuel Perez Salazar in the Shepard Hall through August at the library, 421 S. McClelland St., Santa Maria. More info: 925-0994, Ext. 832, firstname.lastname@example.org, or cityofsantamaria.org.
Arts Editor Joe Payne has been stung, but holds no grudges. Contact him at email@example.com.