Skip to main content

On view November 2 to December 8, 2018 at PAVED Arts
Opening Reception: Friday, November 2, 8pm

“No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success. Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs. Pursuing these reflections, I thought that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time (although I now found it impossible) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption.

…One secret which I alone possessed was the hope to which I had dedicated myself; and the moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding-places.”

Mary Shelly, Frankenstein: Or,The Modern Prometheus 1869, pg.42

For several years, Ruth Marsh has been creating a series of artworks which focus specifically on bee disappearance and decrepitude. Solicited through an ongoing public call, hundreds of found, dead bees are sent through the mail to her Halifax studio from individuals across Canada. Once received, the bees are taxidermically preserved and meticulously repaired using discarded technology. The newly refurbished bees are then revived, frame-by-frame, through the process of stop motion animation.

Approaching this work from a perspective which is part cyber-punk mad-scientist and part devoted, repair technician, her work mindfully employs techniques which mirror bee life itself. Through processes which are inherently labour intensive, repetitive and painstaking, and which exist at the cusp of DIY culture and citizen science, she is assembling artifacts and practices which build a wry vision of a future wherein the world’s bees have perished due to human causes.

At PAVED arts, you are invited to enter The World of Ideal Bounds on many fronts. PAVED Arts’ main gallery space is converted into a pristine, brightly-lit, Bee Taxidermy museum wherein five hundred mended and refurbished bees line shelves in the gallery space. Each bee is labeled with a number which corresponds to a reference booklet within which museum visitors are invited to look up the information provided for each bee (Where was the bee found? How did it die? etc). The DIY instructional video Bee Taxidermy: A How To Guide will be playing on a small screen within the museum for the duration of the exhibition.

Coupled with this presentation, a series of stop motion animations will depict a documentary exploration of a technologically enhanced bee hive in six non-linear acts. The viewer will be introduced to the perspective of a single cyborg bee character whose plight they will follow through a cybernetically altered environment.

In addition, on November 3rd, 2018,  The World’s Foremost Bee Taxidermist ™ will be conducting a performative workshop within the gallery space in which attendees will be taught the fundamentals of bee taxidermy. A billboard depicting The World’s Foremost Bee Taxidermist ™ and extolling her taxidermy skills will be installed during the run of the exhibition. All are encouraged to interact with this piece by phoning 1-833-TAXIBEE to make enquiries in person or leave a message. All calls will be recorded and used in a future iteration of the work.

Artist Bio:
Ruth Marsh
 is a multidisciplinary artist of settler ancestry based out of Kjipuktuk (Halifax, NS). Her work employs an absurdist and often comically deadpan approach to address absence, memory and healing in both in bodies and environments. She is interested in exploring ways in which modalities of labour can translate into enacted care: exertion as meditation, repetition as litany, effort over time as love.

Since graduating from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2006, her practice has spanned painting, drawing, taxidermy, video, performance, installation and stop-motion animation. Her work has been shown in galleries, museums and festivals both nationally and internationally including The Confederation Centre of the Arts (Charlottetown, PEI), Nocturne: The New Gallery (Calgary, AB) and Trieste Science+Fiction Film Festival (Trieste, Italy).


Related Events:

Thursday, November 1, 12-1pm
Ruth Marsh Artist Talk & Panel w/ Dr. Art Davis 

Gordon Snelgrove Gallery, Murray Building, 3 Campus Dr #191, Saskatoon, SK 
Dr. Art Davis began his professorial appointment in the Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan in 1994. Among many others, he teaches a course devoted to honey bees and beekeeping for the Department of Plant Sciences. He also conducts research on the production of nectar – the main attractant of pollinating insects to flowers, and the key source of honey. Presented in partnership by Gordon Snelgrove Gallery and PAVED Arts.

Saturday, 3 November 2018,  12–3pm
Bee Taxidermy Workshop w/ Ruth Marsh
As the world’s foremost Bee Taxidermist, Ruth Marsh brings nearly a decade of experience to PAVED Arts for this one-of-a-kind workshop. At the beginner level, you will learn three key foundational techniques of bee taxidermy: 1. How to construct bee legs out of reclaimed electronic resistors; 2. How to braid bee antennae out of fine wire and; 3. How to mould bee wings out of salvaged copper. Find out more info about the workshop and how to register here:

ReplyReply allForward