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Insects Illuminated: Photographs, Prints and Drawings by Evan Summer

September 24, 2005 - January 8, 2006

 

(above: Morphos on mounting board, digital photograph. Collection of Bob Natalini)


Insects Illuminated: Photographs, Prints and Drawings by Evan Summer focuses on the beauty, color, textures, patterns and forms of the very alive world of insects. The exhibit runs through January 8, 2006.

During the past two years Evan Summer became very interested in insects as subjects of art. He'll tell you they provide an unbelievable variety of color, texture, pattern and form. "I've studied and photographed specimens in the collections of the Reading Public Museum and Mr. Bob Natalini," said Summer, "as well as insects I've collected mostly through purchases on E-Bay." At first, Summer used high-resolution digital photographs as reference for drawings and prints. Photography enabled him to see details that were just too small to see without magnification. Later he began thinking of these photos as finished artworks. "They allowed a level of detail that I wasn't able to achieve in drawn images," comments Summer, "and this will be the first time I've exhibited photographs." Most of Summer's artwork is in printmaking and drawing which will be included in this exhibit as well. (right: Pink Rhino (Chalcosoma caucasus), 2004, graphite, pastel)

Interestingly, part of this exhibit consists of photos of insects in the Reading Public Museum's collection. They were taken in an area of the Museum where rarely seen specimens are stored in old glass-covered wooden drawers. Most of these specimens were collected and mounted 50 to 100 years ago. Some are even older and bear the labels of Levi W. Mengel, who was an entomologist and the Reading Public Museum's founder and first Director. "These specimens have a unique beauty and show the effects of time. Some colors aren't as vibrant as they once were and numerous wings, legs and antennae have fallen off They are part of local history," continues Summer, "and show something about the history of scientific display and the history of scientific taxonomy. These pictures are about the displays as much as they are about the specimens. They are a tribute to those who collected, mounted and preserved these insects."

Evan Summer lives in Kutztown, PA with his wife and four children and has taught printmaking for 18 years at Kutztown University. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo and his Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking at Yale University. He is represented in many distinguished collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and has had a number of solo exhibitions including an exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C. in 1999. He is the recipient of numerous printmaking awards and prizes including the Tai-he Masterpiece Award in the 2003 Beijing International Print Biennial. And he is a member of the National Academy of Design in New York City, where he was awarded the 1999 Leo Meissner Prize and 2003 Cannon Prize for printmaking.

The opening reception is Saturday, October 1st. Photographer David Haas will speak at 5:30pm on "Ansel Adams and the Art of Light" and Summer will be speak at 6:00pm about his exhibit with a reception following in the Atrium. The reception is free to members, regular admission charged for non-members. The exhibit is sponsored in part by grants from Kutztown University, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Insects Illuminated: Photographs, Prints and Drawings by Evan Summer is running simultaneously with Ansel Adams and Edwin Land: Art, Science and Invention ­ Photographs from the Polaroid Collection.

 

Related programming:

Museum Shop Event - Bob Natalini: Insect Artwork - Sunday, October 2, 2005 - Noon to 5:00 pm. Bob's artwork uses exotic insects that come from sustainable use markets and insect farming projects that help protect rainforests and provide income to indigenous peoples. This unique insect artwork comes in many forms - key chains, jewelry, shadow boxes, and more. Museum admission separate. Free.
 
Drawing from Natural Specimens - Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm - Ages 15 & up. Join artist Evan Summer and learn to draw using the specimens from his exhibit. Participants will learn proportion, dimension, and shading techniques as well as how to observe detail. Fee. (right: Salvazano imperalis, 2005, graphite, pastel)
 
Conversation with the Artist: Evan Summer - Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 7:00 pm. Join artist Evan Summer as he leads us through his exhibit. The artist will give a brief introduction, and then through dialog and questions from the audience you will learn some of the artist's ideas, techniques and research. Discover too, how Evan used specimens from Levi Mengel's collection in his work. Bob Natalini's Insect Artwork will also be available this evening for sale in the Museum Shop. Free with Admission.
 
 

Exhibition checklist:

 
Evan Summer
Odontolabis castenauldi, 2004
graphite, pastel
 
Evan Summer
Chalcosoma Caucasus, 2004
graphite, pastel
 
Evan Summer
Salvazano imperalis, 2005
graphite, pastel
 
Evan Summer
Pink Rhino (Chalcosoma caucasus), 2004
graphite, pastel
 
Evan Summer
Beetle (Torinorrhina flammea), 2004
etching, drypoint
 
Evan Summer
Big Fly, 2005
drypoint
 
Evan Summer
Bee, 2005
etching, drypoint
 
Evan Summer
Cicada, 2004
etching
 
Evan Summer
Lynn's Giant Grasshopper, 2004
etching, drypoint
 
Evan Summer
Goliathus cassicus
Collected in the Congo
digital photograph
Collection of the Artist
 
Evan Summer
Rosenbergia straussi
digital photograph
Collection of the Artist
 
Evan Summer
Lamprima adolphinae
digital photograph
Collection of the Artist
 
Evan Summer
Titanus giganteus
digital photograph
Collection of Bob Natalini
 
Evan Summer
Macrodontia cervicornus
digital photograph
Collection of Bob Natalini
 
Evan Summer
Agrias narcissus
Collected in Guiana
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Exotic Scarabaeidae
Collected in Malaysia
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Chalcosoma caucasus
Collected in Malaysia
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Psalidognatus superba
Collected in South America
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Lyropteryx sp.
Collected in Brazil
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Prepona sp.
Collected in Ecuador
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Thecla cordnata
Collected in Ecuador
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Thecla platyptera
Collected in Peru
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Thyridia confusa
Collected in Peru
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Metalmark Butterflies
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Chloran sp.
Collected in India
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Chloran lobaturn
Collected in El Salvador
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Cicada
Collected in India
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Exotic Tettigoniidae
Collected in Ecuador
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Exotic Tettigoniidae
Collected in Ecuador
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Carabidae
Collected in the United States
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Carabus vinctus
Collected in the United States
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Exotic Scarababaedae
Collected in Malaysia
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Megaleura coresia
Florida to Brazil
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Choeradodis sp.
Collected in Ecuador
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Cremna meleagris
Collected in Peru and Brazil
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
A. velutina
Collected in the Amazon
digital photograph
Museum Collection
 
Evan Summer
Chalcosoma caucasus
digital photograph
Collection of the Artist
 
Evan Summer
Phyllium giganteum on mounting board
digital photograph
Collection of Bob Natalini
 
Evan Summer
Torinorrhina flammea
digital photograph
Collection of the Artist
 
Evan Summer
Morphos on mounting board
digital photograph
Collection of Bob Natalini
 
Evan Summer
Tibicen pruinosa (light)
digital photograph
Collection of the Artist
 
Evan Summer
Tibicen pruinosa (dark)
digital photograph
Collection of the Artist
 
Evan Summer
Salvazano imperialis
digital photograph
Collection of the Artist
 
Evan Summer
Big Fly, 2005
copper plate with drypoint
 
Evan Summer
Exotic Cerambycidae
digital photograph

 

(above: Family Nymphalidae - The Brushfoots, Genus Callicore - the 88 Butterflies. This genus is found from Mexico to South America. The upper side is dark with a metallic band on the forewing while the underside is red, white, and brown with numbers such as 69, 88, 96 on the hind wing. There are many species)

 

Museum specimens:

 
Family Riodinidae - The Metalmarks
The Metalmarks are a family of small to medium sized butterflies of all shapes and colors. Most (1,200 of 1,300 known species) are found in the American tropics. The Mengel collection is one of the best collections in the world.
 
This drawer contains various species of the genus Lyra from Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and Peru.
 
 
Family Riodinidae - The Metalmarks
This drawer of Metalmarks contains various species of the genus Diroina from Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and Peru.
 
 
Family Nymphalidae - The Brushfoots
Subfamily - Morphinae
Butterflies of the genus Morpho are among the most spectacular in the world and the best known of the Mengel collection. The Mengel collection contains about three quarters of the approximately 80 species of Morpho in the world. These butterflies are found only in Central and South America with the greatest numbers in the Amazon regions.
 
The brilliant blue color is not due to pigment, but is caused by the physical structure of the scales.
 
 
Family Nymphalidae - The Brushfoots
Subfamily - Brassolinae
These large butterflies of the genus Caligo (the Owl Butterflies) fly in the shadows of the forests of Central and South America. The caterpillars feed on native plants but may be pests on the introduced banana. Adults feed on fruit juices. Owl butterflies are a favorite of butterfly houses because of their large size, slow flight, and long life (4-5 weeks).
 
 
Family Nymphalidae - The Brushfoots
Kallima inachus - Dead-Leaf Butterfly
When this species rests with its wings closed (lower right corner of the drawer), it looks just like a dead leaf with mid rib, veins, fungus spots, holes, and tails which look like a leaf petiole. This species is found in India and eastward.
 
 
Family Heliconidae
Heliconius sp.
The butterfly genus Heliconius is a group peculiar to tropical America, abundant everywhere in the shades of its forests. Clusters of varieties and closely allied species are a great puzzle to classifiers. A relatively long life span (four to six weeks) makes them valuable for researchers. They are primarily found in the Amazon Basin, and west to Bolivia and Peru.
 
 
Family Nymphalidae - The Brushfoots
Subfamily - Ithomiinae
This subfamily is found only in Central and South America. Richard M. Fox, a member of the Museum staff in the 1940's, has written some of the key references to this group. These slow flying, forest dwelling butterflies are poisonous to vertebrates and were well known to the developers of mimic theory.
 
 
Family Nymphalidae - The Brushfoots
Genus Callicore - the 88 Butterflies
This genus is found from Mexico to South America. The upper side is dark with a metallic band on the forewing while the underside is red, white, and brown with numbers such as 69, 88, 96 on the hind wing. There are many species.
 
 
Family Elateridae - Click Beetles
There are over 7,000 species of click beetles found throughout the world. They received their name because of their peculiar ability to "click" and jump; The clicking is made possible by the flexible union of the upper body and spine. If they are placed on their backs they use this mechanism to snap and jump usually falling right side up. The larvae are called wireworm.
 
 
Family Buprestidae ­ Jewel Beetles
Jewel Beetles are one of the most colorful beetle families. They are abundant in hot, sunny country in a variety of colors and patterns. In more temperate regions their color is more modest and they are known as Metallic Wood Borers. They live on trees, bushes and herbaceous plants and are primarily nocturnal.
 
 
Family Scarabaeidae ­ Scarab Beetles
Dung, rhinoceros, Hercules and sacred scarab are the names of some of the beetles in the scarab beetle family. More than 35,000 species of these awesome beetles are found in the insect world, the most amazing in the tropics. The club at the end of each short and elbowed antenna helps to identify scarab beetles.
 
Some species are brilliantly colored in metallic hues of black, purple, blue, green, bronze or gold. The ancient Egyptians thought of the dung-eating scarab as a holy animal, carving it on precious stones for beads or other jewelry. It was used as a symbol of the sun because of its circular shape and bright golden colors.
 
 
Family Scarabaeidae ­ Scarab Beetles
Family Cerambycidae - Longhorn Beetles
Longhorn beetles are distinguished by their unusually long antennae that extend up to or past the abdomen. Males have much longer antennae than females. Cerambycids have kidney bean shaped eyes just below the antennae. There are nearly 20,000 species worldwide and over 1, 200 in the U.S.
Family Cerambycidae - Longhorn Beetles
 
 
Family Cerambycidae - Longhorn Beetles
These two drawers contain a variety of Grasshoppers, Cockroaches, Mantids, and Walkingsticks.
 
 
Order Orthoptera ­ Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets
Orthoptera make up the sixth largest order of insects with about 23,000 named species. They have straight, parchment-like forewings and fanlike membranous back wings. They have specialized back legs for jumping, and undergo incomplete metamorphosis. They are found throughout the world with the greatest numbers in the tropics.
 
 
Suborder Blattaria - Cockroaches
Cockroaches are insects with flattened bodies and long antennae. They are nocturnal animals that feed on a variety of organic material high in fats and starches. Several species invade homes where they can contaminate food. There are about 4,000 species of cockroaches worldwide.
 
 
Family Mantidae ­ Mantids
Praying mantids are slow-moving insects with front legs greatly modified for grasping prey. They usually wait motionless to seize any insect that venture within striking distance. Mantids are well known as biological control agents. They are usually found in foliage. They may be up to 4 inches long and are found throughout the world.
 
 
Family Phasmatidae - Walking Sticks
These peaceful insects are strictly vegetarians. There are over 3000 varieties of these nocturnal insects named for their twig-like appearance. The longest insect in the United States is a walking stick, Megaphasma dentricus, which reaches a length of about 7 inches.

 

(above: Exhibition title wall showing digital images of specimens from the Reading Public Museum collection:

 

Megaleura coresia

Florida to Brazil

digital photograph

 

Metalmark Butterflies

digital photograph

 

Cremna meleagris

Collected in Peru and Brazil

digital photograph

 

Prepona species

Collected in Ecuador

digital photograph

 

Lyropteryx species

Collected in Brazil

digital photograph


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