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New Accession Highlight: The Bees and the Ants #1

Welcome back! Portions of the first, second and third floors of the Chazen building are now open—make an appointment to visit—and the back area of the Pleasant T. Rowland Gallery now features new accessions exhibit, featuring additions to the Chazen collection gathered from 2018 to now. We’d love to see you in the museum in person, but we’re also offering an online peek at each piece in the exhibit.

The Bees and the Ants #1 painting by Dean Byington

Dean Byington, (American, b. 1958), The Bees and the Ants #1, 2003, Oil on linen, 84 x 69 7/8 in., Gift of Joseph Cunningham and Bruce Barnes in honor of the de Waart Family, 2019.5

Today we’re highlighting The Bees and the Ants #1 by Dean Byington, who creates intricate landscapes based on the graphic language of nineteenth-century illustrated books. The artist has described his approach as “horror vacui,” a fear or dislike of leaving empty space. The large amount of visual information may both repel and entice the viewer. The artist’s process is just as complex as his images. He begins by photocopying his own drawings, illustrations from books, and sometimes actual objects, adjusting them for scale. Then, he collages the imagery together and scans it, creating digital files. From these, he creates silkscreens, through which ink is transferred onto the surface of the canvas. Finally, he paints by hand onto the canvas in a manner that mimics the style of the printed images.