At first glance, Christopher Marley’s ornate sculptures look like delicate mosaics of precious gemstones. On closer expectation, we are amazed to discover that the shiny metallic objects are actually an arrangement of exotic insects – as never seen before. We are presented with tropical moths and beautiful beetles meticulously lined up like little jewels of the most dazzling colours.
This contrast between the supposed chaos of nature and the strict compositional rhythm is central to Marley’s work: “I am seeking to set the incredible diversity of the insects, of their colours, shapes, and patterns, against the order and purity of composition.” Using this approach, he succeeds in freeing the insects from their standard scientific context, presenting them as independent art objects in a contemporary way.
To create his originals, Marley pours artificial resin over the entomological compositions, preserving them for eternity. For LUMAS, he works with reproductions that exactly recreate the true colours and scale of the individual insects. Applied to the underside of a 6mm-thick acrylic glass sheet, the result is a seemingly three-dimensional sculpture whose internal workings appear surprisingly real.
Marley’s compositions are impressive not only because of the artistic concept, but also because of the artist’s personal background. Marley has lived with a severe insectophobia since childhood. Despite this, as an adult he has increasingly devoted himself to entomology – with ever more passion. Today, he travels to the furthest corners of the world in search of rare moths or species of wasp believed to be extinct. He only collects insects that have died from natural causes, and his work offers significant scientific benefits, particularly for researching and protecting endangered species.
|Lives and works in Salem OR, USA|