The first piece I have painted for my solo show is “Order and Chaos”. It consists of an organized grouping of paper wasps suspending a tangled red thread below them.
The idea developed slowly, starting off with a single tiny paper wasp that I found deceased. It was such a small thing I could hardly make out its details, none the less I was drawn to it.
I took a photograph using my macro lenses hoping to see it more clearly. I was struck by the dynamic pose and vibrant colors that could only be made out when viewed close-up. To capture the wasp in a photo I decided to pose it by pinning it through its thorax. This allowed me to capture every angle. It also provided me an image that kept coming to the forefront of my creative plans. The vision of the paper wasp speared with the pin extending out below, left such a strong mark on my mind that I wanted/needed to experiment with ways to use it in a painting.
The final composition came after many iterations. Organizing the wasps in a circle happened quickly because I have always used circles in my work, it seemed only natural. Though I originally planned to lay them out in an actual circle rather than an implied ellipse.
The idea of thread came from past works as well. I started by trying to create a straight line or linear structural element with actual thread but was never happy with the look of it and conceptually it made no sense. I took a moment to think about what I really wanted: a long contrasting element below the wasps that both balanced and created tension in the composition. So, I tried placing the thread in straight lines going down from the ellipse and played with the idea of making geometric patterns or grids. None of that worked. In frustration I threw the thread to the side and it landed in a way that switched on my light bulb. The tangle of thread was beautiful, it had an artless pattern of flowing curves and chaotic overlaps. That was it! The chaotic jumble of thread would juxtapose nicely next to the organized ellipse while still balancing the composition. A few dozen more adjustments and I had it.