Senior exhibits by Lisa Kamna and Natasha Streitz, October 27 to November 10, 2013.
Natasha Streitz’ Artist’s Statement:
Humans have associated wasps as a hazardous insect. However, with regards to grape trees, wasps not only act as a protective force, but also as an important asset. The unmistakable physical characteristic of the small black and yellow body with wings, accompanied by a tiny stinger inadvertently set off panic among some, but are welcomed by others. The wine vineyard finds itself as an ally of these stigmatized little creatures who carry the yeast which begins the fermentation process of alcohol, in this case wine. Without wasps there would be no yeast, and without yeast, there would be no alcohol causing wine growers to welcome the wasp. Additionally, wasps also host other microorganisms which are eventually transferred to the wine, creating distinct flavors.
The necessity for wasps as a supportive figure, has shed light onto other situations. The five-banded Tiphiid Wasp, a native to China and Korea, is one of the many natural enemies imported into the United States for the control of the Japanese Beetle. Tiphiid Wasps hunt and parasitize the larvae of the Japanese Beetle, creating a source of natural biological control. One of the susceptible victims to these little shiny metallic insects, include wine vineyards. Grape leaves are one of the Japanese Beetle’s favorite foods. As a result, the grape leaves suffer from skelentonization from the Japanese Beetle infestation but its effect is lessened due to the aid of the Tiphiid Wasp.
The physical qualities of the Tiphiid Wasp include black and yellow bodies measuring almost an inch in length connected to a hook-like stinger. Although very intimating in size and appearance, they actually possess very little threat to humans. The male’s structure includes a fake stinger, and the female wasps, who are equipped with one, only attack when they feel threatened.
The natural process of living things is to survive, in this case the wasps need to eat and feed on the Beetle larvae that kill grape trees, and also provide the key ingredient to wine. In this case, wasps unconsciously act as an element of restoration and renewal within the vineyards. Through the destructive course of killing to eat, the end product also entails repair and renewal. These dynamics present a continuous cycle of rejuvenation within destruction.
Naturally drawn to the formation of vines, I have created a grape tree using hand blown glass and welded steel. The materials being man made further relate to the idea that the cultivation of grape vines and fermentation of grapes are prepared by man. The wasp hive is created out of handmade paper with grass and twig fibers embedded within, to realistically represent the fiber accumulation which wasps create to call home. The series of three charcoal drawings magnify the skeletenoziation that is caused by the Japanese Beetle that is normally disregarded or minimized in concern by most.
Both the sculptures and drawings work together to influence the viewer to observe this relationship between manmade and natural worlds, and more specifically the cycle of rejuvenation and destruction within these spheres.
Lisa Kamna’s Artist’s Statement
My photographs bring attention to the everyday moments our fast paced society passes by, allowing viewers to regard individuals and events they normally would not observe.
My goal in this exhibition is to bring attention to the repercussions of Hurricane Sandy as well as shedding light on the reconstruction process. In my small hometown of Breezy Point, nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy destroyed it, we are currently still in the process of getting back onto our feet. My photographs show this community coming back together as life is brought back into the streets and people back into their homes. My hope is that viewers will be able to empathize with what thousands of families have experienced since last October by showing images of the destruction left by the hurricane, as well as neighbors coming together to regain a sense of normalcy in their lives. Through my lens I am able to stop time and capture the emotions I envision within each person’s life.
By noting the location and time of each photograph, I have shown the changes in the land and property around Breezy Point, reflecting back to what we had before the hurricane, what we lost last October, and what is to come in the future.
The black and white images create a storyline of my experience. The smaller wall of scattered images give a glimpse into the random happenings, dislocations, and confusion that spread throughout this small town last year.