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Aganetha Dyck: Imaging the Hive Mind

Thanks to the Ottawa exhibition “Animal House,” art made in collaboration with animals has received an unusual amount of media attention this summer. But this “new trend” is old hat for Winnipeg artist Aganetha Dyck. Since 1991, Dyck has been working with honeybees to create compelling sculptural objects that end up coated, filled and otherwise invested with precisely formed, richly coloured honeycomb structures. Dyck’s latest exhibition at Michael Gibson Gallery, however, features another layer of collaboration—one that incorporates the work of her son, photographer Richard Dyck, who helped her insert photographic scanners directly into beehives. The resulting prints possess various moods: some show bees blurred in flight; some show objects in the process of honeycomb-agglomeration; some show cells of the hive itself. Also on view at the gallery are metal signs that the elder Dyck inserted into hives and then removed. These signs, presented earlier this year at the Burnaby Art Gallery, feature the kinds of elemental word-and-materials play that continues to root Dyck’s practice in her Mennonite background—a tradition, Dyck’s work hints, that can mete out equal measures of sweetness and severity. (157 Carling St, London ON)

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