Terry Arena

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Symbiotic Crisis: Torrance, 2016 Graphite On Metal Variable
Symbiotic Crisis: Carnegie Art Museum, 2014 Graphite On Metal Variable
Symbiotic Crisis: MOAH, Lancaster Graphite On Metal 7.5' X 7.5'
Feed: Lavender, 2016 Graphite On Metal 12" Diameter
Feed: Chives, 2015 Graphite On Metal
Symbiotic Crisis 66, 2015 Graphite
Symbiotic Crisis 64, 2015 Graphite On Metal
Symbiotic Crisis 45, 2014 Graphite On Metal 6 3/4" Diameter
Big bee with stripe Graphite © 2014
Symbiotic Crisis 67, 2015 Graphite On Metal
Symbiotic Crisis 51, 2014 Graphite On Metal 6" Diameter
Symbiosis 4, 2012 Graphite In Paper
Quick Facts
bees, Colony Collapse Disorder, drawing, mixed-media, installation

Based on childhood memories, my experience working in the public school system, and the media, it has become apparent that food culture is radically shifting to accommodate different lifestyle choices and health concerns. This body of work evolved from these observations and questions the complexities of contemporary food culture.

The drawings consider ideas of seasonality, genetically modified organisms, homemade meal preparations, and most recently, the plight of the bees. My subjects are natural or “slow” foods that I have purchased from the farmer’s market, collected from friends’ home gardens, or have procured from my yard.  For the recipe pieces, each drawing is one ingredient, or a component, of a multi-generational recipe that has been passed to me from family and friends. I draw these objects from life with assistance from magnifiers and, with the bees, enlarged photographs. The isolated ingredients are drawn life size with intense rendering and consider a complex web of relationships. The symbiotic bond between the consumed and the consumer can involve ethical questions. Where is our food derived, how it is produced, who benefits economically and otherwise, and what will effect our environment and the health of the population over the long and short-term?

My most recent work explores the vulnerability of the honeybee and, in turn, our food sources. The growth of one-third of the crops we eat are supported by pollination from honeybees. This is to include direct consumables such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts and indirectly in the crops that are grown to facilitate the production of meat and dairy products. The role of the honeybee is so integral to crop propagation, bees are transported by trucks to farmlands in need of pollination. Though studies have been conducted to determine the cause of the vanishing of the bees, causes are not yet definitive.

Considering the ideas of our relationship with the environment and the impact bees have on our food sources, the detailed renderings are drawn on food tins and repurposed materials. The reductive, yet analytical nature of the graphite drawings is reminiscent of nature studies and botanical drawings of old masters. Though the appearance and quantity of drawings is somewhat mechanized, each one is unique and handmade from collected source materials. The elemental approach in the work reflects simpler methodologies and examines a more direct and intimate relationship with our environment. 

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