New Exhibition Opens Tomorrow at The Bishop
Small Wonders: Insects in Focus Showcases the Intersection of Art and Nature
Insects have been on Earth 350 million years, while sharing the planet with humans for only the past 200,000 years. They inhabit every domain of our daily lives, so prolific that thousands share our own backyards, performing essential functions that balance our fragile ecosystem on Earth — functions that often go unnoticed because of their small size or scale. Now, using cutting-edge technology and custom methods that put tiny insects on a human scale, artist and photographer Bob Sober allows visitors to see the patterns, textures, colors and details that have always been present, but too small to appreciate in The Bishop’s newest special exhibition Small Wonders: Insects in Focus.
Small Wonders, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Chet Baran, opens tomorrow and runs through Oct. 20, 2020. Viewing is included with Museum admission.
Creating human-scale images of insects, with resolution so high that every hair, dimple and tiny structure is clearly revealed, was impossible prior to the technological advancements of the past 10 years. Now, Sober’s skills allow us to see the intersection of natural science and art in the smooth metallic finishes and heavily stippled textures, strange body shapes, delicate wing structures and beautifully engineered body components in this series of 30 images that are on display in the Museum’s second-floor Rincon Gallery and throughout the Museum.
“Some of us might think of bugs merely as pests, but these images give us new ways of seeing them that confront us with the idea that insects display the elements we attribute to good design or beautiful artwork,” said Matthew D. Woodside, Chief Curator & Director of Exhibitions at The Bishop. “Colors like neon green, sapphire blue, crimson red, deep violet and brilliant yellow are all part of the insect world. Wild, multi-colored patterns sometimes come from hair, sometimes from iridescent scales, and other times from colors integral to the insect’s exoskeleton. These tiny creatures are indeed artwork, in every sense of the word.”
Small Wonders: Insects in Focus will be on display until Oct. 20 and viewing it is included in the price of admission. It is organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.
Bob Sober, a visual artist as well as technological pioneer whose photographic techniques are the subject of educational tutorials is able to capture accurate images of insects as they truly exist thanks to high-resolution digital cameras, fast personal computers, economical digital storage, and powerful software applications capable of assisting with the assembly of hundreds or thousands of individual photographs.
The Bishop has taken new measures following the guidance of the CDC and state and local health officials. We ask guests to keep these in mind as they plan their visit:
- Visitors older than age 2 are required to wear face masks.
- The Bishop has new hours and a timed entry system. We strongly encourage advance purchase.
- To encourage social distancing, we have a new one-way route through the Museum.
- The Planetarium and the Mosaic Backyard Universe remain temporarily closed.
- Get details on all our new measures.
Guests can enjoy the exhibition by following the new one-way route through the Museum.
“Sometimes we might think of insects only as pests, but Bob Sober’s techniques, using extreme macro photography in a process called focus-stacking, captures images that give us the ability to see insects in new ways,” said Matthew D. Woodside, Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions at The Bishop. “It’s not only the clarity and resolution, but also enlarged to these human-sized scales, we see the details and can better appreciate them for their beauty of colors and body structure. The collection of images includes insects that are at first glance very similar, but possess enough differences to remind us that nature is always experimenting with design to enhance survivability.
“These examples of biodiversity inspire me to want to find out more about these small but beautiful creatures and better understand their roles in the insect world. But when we see colors like neon greens, sapphire blues, crimson reds, deep violets and brilliant yellows, it’s stunning and I appreciate them in another way — as living artwork, in every sense of the word.”
Small Wonders: Insects in Focus is organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.
Bob Sober, a visual artist as well as technological pioneer whose photographic techniques are the subject of educational tutorials, is able to capture accurate images of insects as they truly exist thanks to high-resolution digital cameras, fast personal computers, economical digital storage, and powerful software applications capable of assisting with the assembly of hundreds or thousands of individual photographs.
“My attitude is that the insect is the artwork,” says Sober. “My role is to create a human scale image that may allow the viewer to see the patterns, textures, colors and details that have always been present, but too small to appreciate.
“I also hope that my images stir a new curiosity in the viewer as they have in me. A sense of wonder about the world around them, a desire to learn more about why their bodies are made the way they are, why does their skin have this texture, why are antennas the shape they are or why does one insect color its scales and another has color in its skin?”
In addition, The Bishop’s special exhibition of Myakka River: A Florida Treasure continues through Sept. 6 in the Museum’s first-floor East Gallery. Featuring dozens of evocative black-and-white photos of the Myakka River by renowned landscape photographer Clyde Butcher, this special exhibition is also included with admission.
Please note The Bishop’s current admission prices and hours:
- Open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday with entry times at 10-11 a.m., 11 a.m.-noon, noon-1 p.m. and 1-2 p.m., with last entry at 2 p.m.
- Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, with entry times at noon-1 p.m., 1-2 p.m., 2-3 p.m. and 3-4 p.m., with last entry at 4 p.m.
- Closed on Monday and Tuesday.
- Admission fees are Adults: $16; Seniors: $15; Youth/Student: $12; Ages 5-11: $10; Ages 4 and younger get in free with a paying adult. Members of the Discovery Society always get in free.
This exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than twenty-five exhibitions on tour to over 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. These exhibitions create access to an array of arts and humanities experiences, nurture the understanding of diverse cultures and art forms, and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities. For more about ExhibitsUSA, email MoreArt@maaa.org or visit www.eusa.org.
About Mid-America Arts Alliance
Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. We achieve this primarily through our national traveling exhibition programs, innovative leadership development, and strategic grant making. We are especially committed to enriching the cultural life of historically underserved communities by providing high quality, meaningful, and accessible arts and culture programs and services. We believe in more art for more people. Additional information about M-AAA is available at www.maaa.org.
About The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature
As the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature (formerly South Florida Museum) offers fun and engaging exhibitions and programs that interpret the scientific and cultural knowledge of Florida, the world and our universe. In addition to permanent exhibitions, The Bishop features a constantly changing lineup of special exhibitions — offering something new to discover with each visit — and Pathways, a custom, interactive app that offers guests specially curated tours of the Museum.
The Bishop includes an all-digital Planetarium — the only one of its kind on Florida’s Gulf Coast — the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat, where we help rehabilitate sick or injured manatees for their return to the wild, and the Mosaic Backyard Universe, built especially for young children and their families.
Please note that due to COVID-19, The Planetarium and Mosaic Backyard Universe remain temporarily closed.
Our Mission: To engage and inspire learners of all ages; we protect, interpret and communicate scientific and cultural knowledge of Florida, the world, and our universe.