Graphite artist Terry Arena opens her Los Angeles solo exhibition at Brainworks Gallery July 1st 5-8pm. Borrowing from Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, Arena find the ideas and inquiries into the natural environment continue to be relevant today.
The pesticides have different names, yet similarly their impact on our ecosystem still begs for investigation. In this time of technological and scientific revolution, Arena is both in awe and disheartened. She was taken aback when she learned of colony collapse disorder (CCD) in bees as many of our crops are supported by the pollinating efforts of the insect. California alone is the dominant producer of almonds worldwide which are critically reliant on bees for their production. The root cause of CCD is still debated and may be due to a variety of issues rather than just a singular culprit. This dynamic relationship between insect, economics, and the dinner table fascinates Arena.
Her project, Symbiotic Crisis resulted from this query. Over the last 3 years, Arena has worked to complete over 100 graphite drawings on repurposed food tins. In accompaniment to the drawings, she began incorporating her drawing models (bees, plants, etc.…) housed within cloche, or bell jars. Bell jars are most commonly known for their use in the Victorian period to house taxidermy curiosities, but the cloche was also used in gardens to keep seedlings warm. Bell jars are protectors of living and dead objects. Ideas of creation and destruction are recurring themes in Arena’s work.
In search of ways to have a more cooperative relationship with bees, the Feed series evolved. More compositionally complex and drawn on repurposed platters, the subjects for this series are plants that are edible by both humans and bees. These drawings reference a more communal experience.
Terry Arena received her MA in Painting at California State University, Northridge in 2009. Her work has been shown at the Museum of Art & History in Lancaster, CA; The Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard, and at El Camino College in Torrance. In addition, she has had three solo shows of her graphite still life renderings at Sinclair College, OH, Ventura College, CA, and Moorpark College, CA. Her work has also been included in various group exhibits such as Sweet Subversives: Contemporary California Drawings at the Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, City and Self at Red Pipe Gallery, Los Angeles, and Chain Letter at Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Santa Monica. Arena currently lives and works in Ventura, CA.