Mad About Insects

Angus Image 1Jennifer Angus is a Canadian artist who’s work wow’s visitors with displays of thousands of insects. As a grad student I worked as her Project Assistant at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. I have installed and de-installed over a dozen exhibitions with her. It’s safe to say that I know her work very well, but recently, I had the opportunity to experience it from new perspective, solely as a viewer.

The Mad Art Gallery is located in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, WA, with a nearby view of the iconic Space Needle. Angus recently spent a month in the spacious gallery while installing her latest work, Super Natural.

I visited during the opening event. Walking in to the space was electric, people were buzzing with excitement, everyone was scattered about the installation, almost oblivious to each other as they focused in on the small worlds presented before them. For the first time I began to truly understand the bigger picture of how Angus’ work plays with that ‘Alice in Wonderland’ sense of scale.

Actual insects, dead, positioned, and preserved, infiltrate the gallery, small but mighty in their bold color and number. The insects are everywhere, on the walls, in display cases, inside curio cabinets, bell jars, and on large columns occupying the space. It is almost overwhelming. Any direction you turn, there is a small world of wonder to explore and get lost in.

Angus’ work evolves from one installation to the next, and if you are paying attention, new additions become evident. In this work, new and intriguing elements include reproductions of hand-made Italian marble papers serving as camouflage backdrops to fantastically patterned beetles. Ornate jars, filled with various hues of honey, now also contain insects held in place and magnified by the curvature of the glass and honey. Fifteen columns, specific to the Mad Art Gallery installation, are randomly placed throughout. These provide the feel of a forest, towering above, reaching towards the galleries high ceiling, your gaze is encouraged upward.

For those attending the opening, we shared a rare opportunity to listen to the artist talk about her work. She points out victorian influences in her work and answers popular questions, like “are the insects real,” and “is that their natural color?” The answer is “yes” and everyone leans in to take a closer look. Stepping back, you’ll see find an appreciation for the cathedral like experience, something bigger than yourself. The natural world intertwined with the constructed space, a glimpse of the Super Natural.


Jennifer Angus’ exhibition runs through October 14.
Mad Art Gallery, 325 Westlake Ave N, #101
Open Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm, with extended hours on Thursday until 7pm

Jennifer Angus

Mad Art Gallery




Permanent Collection

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

January 1, 2015

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)


What better way to start off the new year than with a solid visit to one of the nations finest art institutions. Exploring L.A. for it’s culture and iconic history, there is so much to do and see, and making time for the LACMA is well worth the time. The museum is organized in the style of a campus with multiple buildings or pavillions to house the different collections.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)



Textile Collection


LACMA Textile Collection

LACMA Textile Collection


LACMA Textile Collection

LACMA Textile Collection


LACMA Textile Collection

LACMA Textile Collection

LACMA Textile Collection

LACMA Textile Collection



Japanese Kimono

Art of the Samurai

Art of the Samurai



Art of the Samurai, Kimono

Art of the Samurai, Kimono (Winter)


Art of the Samurai, Kimono (Summer)

Art of the Samurai, Kimono (Summer)


20th Century Artworks


Clyfford Still, 1955-H

Clyfford Still, 1955


Franz Kline, The Ballantine

Franz Kline, The Ballantine




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Third Year MFA Show

Third Year MFA Show

Art Lofts, UW – Madison

September 12-19, 2014


As a student at UW-Madison, I make a point each year, to check out the Art Department’s graduate student art show. They (student organized, program facilitated) put together a group exhibition for each class; first, second, and third year MFA candidates. This particular show at the Art Lofts Gallery is, in my opinion, lacking the ‘oomph’ that previous third year shows have displayed. Not unlike previous years, the exhibition overall is a cohesive survey of different skill levels, methods and materials that the Art Department is capable of. However, this show seems to lack the forward-thinking “vision” of art that would stimulate and rise above the over-saturated art world. These students are facing graduation, and with the career path looming I can’t help but wonder if academia is overpowering the motive of the artist. Beyond any disagreement to the general success of this group exhibition, I shall declare that all pieces highlighted in this blog post are works that hold substance as stand-out and exceptionally nice peices.


Michael Brooks Arnsteen

Michael Brooks Arnsteen, Amoeba, 2014

Michael Brooks Arnsteen shows up with an impressive painting. Stylistically similar to his lithographs, the architecture of texture feels familiar, yet the canvas substrate generates a free and expressive movement not necissarily found in his prints. The use of white is not only fresh but mysterious.

J. Myszka Lewis

J. Myszka Lewis


This piece by J. Myszka Lewis holds a quality of ehemeral beauty while retaining an aura of clinical order. Where process seems to be the mainculprit behind this very ordered peice, it’s elegance of tissue thin layered paper creates a peice that comes alive when the gentle breeze of passing-by brings life to the installation.


Robert Aiosa

Robert Aiosa, Untitled2014

Robert Aiosa, Untitled, 2014 (detail)

Robert Aiosa, Untitled, 2014 (detail)


Always an excursion from the expected, Aiosa has the sensibility to subvert the simplest of forms by creating awareness of relationship of viewer and object. The tension that is experienced in this sculpture, “Untitled,” is like a poke at the viewer to accept what one cannot change. A typical gallery setting that includes the unwritten rule “Please Do Not Touch” is ever-present in ones mind upon encountering this structure. Desperately wanting to re-align the two pieces, is not an option. A self-awareness instills. The inate human drive to ‘fix’ things. The broken beam becomes a subtlety where physical and pysiological dis-jointment occur.

The idea of graduate school aesthetic, where a higher level of conceptual art consists, and a more meaningful explanation is required; higher level of conceptual thought, validates the work in this exhibition, and where this Third Year Review Show holds much potential, some have fallen flat, and others I am excited to anticipate where these artist will progress to in the future.

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Werewolverine DIY Shirt Printing

Werewolverine is a Madison band that consists of a handful of rawkus folks including one UW art faculty, Prof. John Hitchcock. Hitchcock is printmaker at UW-Madison. As his project assistant, working on different printing projects comes with the territory. The band was recently in the studio printing their new T-Shirt.


Members of the band did all of the printing, for some it was their first time. They printed just under 100 shirts. Be sure to pick one up at their next show.


The Werewolverine

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Ritz Crafters

Art In – Madison, Wi

March 1, 2014

Puttin’ on the Ritz at Ritz Crafters, Madison. There are plenty of art and craft fairs out there, but this annual craft fair is not to be missed. It’s like the Brooklyn Flea took the wrong train ending up in Madison for a day. No worries however, there are no pretentious hipsters to be found here, jus good ol’ folk that make really cool shit.


Many of the vendors are from surrounding areas like Milwaukee and Chicago, its safe to say that these mid-westerners are as hip as they come. The event organizer, Danni Trester, is a high energy make it happen type of girl. The Ritz Craft Fair is solid and I predict that it will gain momentum for years to come.

Patrick Smyczek is the brains behind Beast USA, he is a UW-Madison alum, currently lives in Milwaukee.


Lydia Crespo designs gorgeous scarves with a contemporary flair. Out of Chicago, her company is called Argaman & Defiance. Most of the silk scarves are hand-dyed and some hand painted with screen printing ink.


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Hitchcock Animal Heads

I love my job, for the most part all I do is print print print. One can theorize all day about methods to improve technique, but the tried and true method for getting better at anything is always simply to do it. Practice makes perfect! As part of my assistantship with John Hitchcock I’ve been printing and cutting images of his stylized animal heads.




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003. SHOW

Writing on the Wall
Verna Gelsy Gallery

October 7 – 14, 2013

This small installation of show fliers came about because of a class at UW–Madison. The course was called “Artists as Curators.” The professor, Laurie Beth Clark, created an assignment that required students to exhibit a collection of objects. This “collection” could be anything from a stash of once valuable beanie babies to cases of personably significant beer cans. For my piece I chose show fliers. Mostly because this was one item I had a lot of.


I started regularly going to local and traveling music shows when I was 15. I didn’t always collect or hold on to the flyer, but I took care of the ones that I did. I appreciate the aesthetic of the artwork whether it be a quick cut and paste or an involved drawing.


I really enjoyed seeing this collection of fliers/memories live again. Stapled to the wall for passer-by to see. I felt a bit of nostalgia for the lifestyle I used to live, but in a lot of ways, its not so different now that I’m older.


Although I don’t hold on to too many fliers these days I still go to shows. Live music and local scenes will always be a part of my life. Over the last five years I have been incorporating my photo-journalistic tendencies out “in the field.”



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The Cost of Oil

In my graduate studies I have been exploring various topics of identity, one of which revolves around the concept of individuality existing within uniformity. This work, entitled, The Cost of Oil, depicts US casualties of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. The images were sourced from a NY Times article and then screen-printed with motor oil on canvas and birch panel. The semi-distorted image creates an effective metaphor for a fleeting ephemeral moment in time. Never forgotten, these people are heroes to many and importantly, loved ones by family and friends. Looking at the artwork from a distance the viewer will see a pattern emerge, frame upon frame illustrating the magnitude of lives sacrificed in war. Get up closer and one will take note that each frame consists of a portrait of a different indvidual. Each person is unique.

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The process: I recycled motor oil from my own car to create The Cost of Oil.

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John Hitchcock


University of Wisconsin – Madison

As part of my assistant duties I have screen-printed these drawings created by John Hitchcock. Metallic silver in on black paper creates a strong visual contrast. All of Hitchcock’s artworks are derived from his sketch books and scaled up to produce the large vignettes. Some are printed on paper and others on felted wool. Each individual image is then hand-cut for a future show installation.

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Screenprint – John Hitchcock

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Screenprint – John Hitchcock

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Rubylith – John Hitchcock

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Screenprint – John Hitchcock

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Screenprint – John Hitchcock

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Jennifer Angus in Texas

Private Collector

Houston, TX

In continuation of my work with Jenny Angus, I traveled along with her to Houston, TX to install a permanent piece in a private collectors home. After two days of driving the actual installation only took about two days. Angus had prepared a custom design wall paper which was professionally installed prior to our arrival. The homes owner will entertain visitors in the uncommonly themed dining room with the fun selected surroundings of Angus’ unique work.

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Dining Room Installation – Jenny Angus

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Dining Room Installation – Jenny Angus

Blue Trees of Houston

While in Houston we made a quick tourist stop to see the Blue Trees. This is a work created by Konstantin Dimopoulos site specific work is supported through the public arts commission in Houston.

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