(Detail of Fall in Blue Meadow by jasna guy | Photo courtesy of High Desert Museum)
Bees, butterflies and other pollinators are essential to thriving High Desert ecosystems and agriculture. Yet their numbers are declining. A new High Desert Museum exhibit offers visitors an opportunity to learn more about the art, intricacy and importance of pollination. Visual artist jasna guy and entomologist Lincoln Best bring their reverence for pollinators and the plants on which they depend in In Time’s Hum: The Art and Science of Pollination. The exhibit opens on Saturday, May 22.
In Time’s Hum dives into the world of pollinators, with a focus on the flowers essential to their survival. guy is a British Columbia-based artist who also sees herself as an educator and citizen scientist. Her practice includes close observation of pollination ecology and the exploration of the floral resources that pollinators require — nectar and pollen. For the past six years, guy’s mixed media artwork has focused on native bees.
Best is the lead taxonomist for the Oregon Bee Atlas. He is obsessed with natural history, the little things and designing plant communities to support biodiversity. He has studied the biodiversity of native bees from Haida Gwaii to Tasmania and from Baja California to Taiwan.
The exhibit features graphite drawings, striking photographs of native flora, animations, lines of poetry and vibrant pollen color studies. Best contributes pollinator and plant specimens, as well as fascinating insights, into these species. Together, guy and Best cultivate appreciation for the beauty of nature using art as transformative engagement.
“This collaboration plants seeds of contemplation and sparks wonder at the intricacy of nature,” said Museum Donald M. Kerr Curator of Natural History Louise Shirley. “In Time’s Hum looks at the remarkable phenomenon of pollination through multiple lenses.”
“The enthusiasm of jasna guy and Lincoln Best for the world of pollinators is infectious,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “Their work engages viewers and asks them to go deeper into what they see in the High Desert landscape.”
After exploring In Time’s Hum, visitors can also take in the Museum’s new, quarter-acre Pollinator Habitat near the stream between the main Museum building and the Changing Forest exhibit. Planted in the fall of 2020, the new native plant habitat contains 30 different species, including mock orange, buckwheat and fireweed. The habitat and exhibition form part of a long-term effort by the Museum to draw attention to and support pollinators.
The exhibition’s title, In Time’s Hum: The Art and Science of Pollination, is inspired by a line from a poem by British poet Carol Ann Duffy called Hive. “In time’s hum, on history’s breath” is from her book The Bees.
In Time’s Hum: The Art and Science of Pollination (highdesertmuseum.org/in-times-hum) will be on display through October 24.
The exhibit is made possible by KSJJ 102.9 FM with support from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.