Artist Covers Walls in Elaborate Patterns Made of Real Insects

Ron Blunt
Ron Blunt / Ron Blunt

If you're looking for art that gives you that creepy-crawly feeling, look no further than the work of Jennifer Angus. The artist has fashioned a unique design for some bright pink walls, making the space look as though it's covered in wallpaper. It's only when you take a closer look that you realize the patterns on the wall are made of bugs. This unusual decor currently covers the walls of a room at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery as part of its debut exhibition, WONDER. The gallery had previously closed for renovations but will be back (and filled with bugs) November 13. 

The installation—which will be up until July 10—is called In the Midnight Garden. In total, the room boasts roughly 5000 weevils, green stag beetles, cicadas, and other insects. The walls have been dyed pink using a wash from a cactus-dwelling insect from Mexico. The insects involved all come from sustainable and ecologically-sound sources, and are re-used by the artist for each installation. Each species Angus uses is abundant in countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea. They are preserved and positioned, but otherwise not altered or painted. 

Angus is currently a professor of apparel and textile design at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She was inspired to work with insects after a trip to Northern Thailand to study local fabrics, where she discovered an article called a "singing shawl," which had tassels adorned with green metallic beetle wings. By using bugs as a false wallpaper stateside, Angus hopes to encourage people to reconsider the part insects play in our lives. 

All images courtesy of Ron Blunt, the Renwick Gallery.

[h/t: Slate]