Monday, October 11, 2021

autumn walking / environmental art

 What do you think this is?

1) environmental paper art

2) a mess of leaves stuck together

3) a destroyed wasps' nest

4) a disintegrating Italian Renaissance coif that got snagged in a Montreal tree? 


4) Seems unlikely given the 500 years since the Italian Renaissance and that this was a young tree in Montreal, but you can see the similarity, yes?

2) A mess of leaves would be a bad choice, since there is clearly design and structure here, even if it's been destroyed.

The answer is 1) and 3). 

3) A destroyed wasps' nest, because that's what it is. 

1) I would argue that it's art too, because it shows me the world in a new way. I marvel at how the wasps collected leaves and chewed them to make paper that they then shaped to make a nest. I can appreciate this, even though I don't want to be stung by wasps. 

The nest was destroyed, and then time and weather worked their effect. The texture is like paper with too little cellulose to bind it. It crumbles when I touch it, yet it was a serviceable home for 20-30 adult wasps. Of course, home-building was their intention. But I behold it as art. My response is aesthetic. I love the delicate texture.

Though I have to admit that my mind still leaps to seeing it as an Italian Renaissance coif.  



  1. Alice, my friend used some wasp nest leavings in a painting to give it texture, sort of layering it on with pigment. (I love this post.)