Cockroaches Infest Boise
Catherine Chalmers: American Cockroach
Exhibition on View: Saturday, July 12, 2008 — Sunday, November 09, 2008
Gallery Talk with the Artist: Thursday, August 7, 2008, 5:30 PM
Boise Art Museum
670 Julia Davis Drive
In her American Cockroach project, Catherine Chalmers records the half-imaginary life of the domestic pest known as the cockroach. The exhibition at the Boise Art Museum highlights the Chalmers’ photographs, sculpture, and video work. Chalmers explores the question of what it is to be human and what is man’s relationship to the insect world, examining preconceived notions about insects and specimens. As Chalmers notes, “Today, people tend to deny the obvious fact of death and violence in their world.” And this is especially true with regard to animals, which tend to fall into the category of either pests or pets. Our connection to nature and the animal world has been domesticated. “In the past, animals had a much higher value in peoples’ understandings of themselves.”
Chalmers’ series theatrically dissects the life of the prehistoric cockroach and the sometimes-surreal operations of nature that deposited the creature plunk in the middle of modern kitchens and bathrooms. American Cockroach offers up an ecosystem where the laws of roach life and survival become strange and distorted human manifestations, not so much a biology but a mythology of the common house roach. Her eco-system is at once natural and exquisitely overwrought, seen schizophrenically from behind the lens of a camera as well as shot from the one-on-one perspective of the roach itself.
View installation images here.
The related book, American Cockroach, published by Aperture, can be found here.
Catherine on ArtDaily.com