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News Release

January 25, 2019 

Art Gallery Presents Multi-Sensory Exhibit

The College of the Canyons Art Gallery is pleased to present an exciting new exhibition, “A Better Nectar,” by Jessica Rath with Robert Hoehn. The multisensory installation is based on the artists’ research into co-evolutionary communication between flowering plants and their pollinators. 

The exhibition opens Monday, Jan. 28 and is on display until Thursday, March 28.

“Jessica Rath’s beautiful and compelling meditation on bees brings together contemporary art, science, and our environment so poetically – and I think – profoundly,” said Pamela Lewis, director of the college’s Art Gallery. “She explores big ideas by way of these small insects! I can’t wait for everybody to see it.” 

In “A Better Nectar,” visitors encounter human-scaled sculptures that evoke a bee’s sensory journey from nest to nectar, with audio and visual elements that interpret the bee’s experience. Rath, in collaboration with composer and sound designer Robert Hoehn, creates an immersive and interactive experience using sculpture, light, and sound to explore how bees learn and remember multisensory floral symbols to find better nectar. 

“Resonant Nest,” the exhibition’s centerpiece, is a human-scaled bumblebee nest that emanates human voice interpretations of bee communication. A six-part score, composed by Hoehn, shifts in response to sensory inputs embedded in the sculpture that record changes in time, local weather conditions, and the proximity of viewers to the work. 

Rath’s watercolor studies of flowers and “Bee Purple,” an immersive light work that emulates how bees experience the color wavelengths that attract them to floral patterns and nectar, will also be on display. “Bee Purple” was created in collaboration with multimedia programmer Elise Co.

“A Better Nectar” continues in Canyons Hall with a photo essay documenting Rath’s research at Leonard Bee Lab at the University of Nevada, Reno. Also on view is “Staminal Evolution,” a seven-foot tall, sonic sculpture inspired by flowering plants that require “buzz pollination,” a process in which bees vibrate a certain frequency to open the flower and thus release its pollen. 

Join the artists for a lecture and discussion from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11 in Mentry Hall 305. A free public reception and celebration for the artists will follow from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Art Gallery. 

The College of the Canyons Art Gallery is located in Mentry Hall on the Valencia campus. It is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Those unable to visit the gallery during normal hours are welcome to contact the gallery to schedule a viewing appointment.

All gallery exhibitions and related events are free and open to the public.