Insects and pig intestines

Gorge and Grow explores the complex systems of life

  • More than 150 pieces make up Gorge and Grow, where artist Heather Komus used handmade paper, embroidery, hair and pig intestines to create the works. – Heather Komus

  • More than 150 pieces make up Gorge and Grow, where artist Heather Komus used handmade paper, embroidery, hair and pig intestines to create the works. – Heather Komus

While growing up, most of us got into some sort of trouble with our parents, resulting in Mom and Dad biting our heads off.

Heather Komus’s new exhibit entitled Gorge and Grow suggests that humans should appreciate this metaphor a lot more when examining the world of insects, in which parents literally bite their kids’ heads off. And then eat them. 

Gorge and Grow, now on display at the Semai Gallery, conveys the emotionless yet perpetual creation of life in the world of insects that mirrors the similarities between the complex systems of life that insects have developed and the human systems we live with today.

Komus created 152 pieces for the installation made of homemade paper, human and horse hair, flagging tape, pig intestines, water balloons, embroidery and plastic grocery bags.

Her inspiration for Gorge and Grow comes from studying the fertility of insects.

“Producing up to 86,000 eggs a day and having grown to the point where her legs are tiny and useless, the termite queen should be the ultimate symbol of fertility,” wrote Komus in her description of the exhibition.

“They can produce so quickly,” she remarked. “They are our biggest competitors and predators and since there are 200 million insects for every person, I hoped that this exhibit would make people feel small.”

The individual pieces are assembled along the walls of the tiny hallway that is the Semai Gallery.

The space works especially well with Komus’s goal of confronting people with the darker side of nature, since the exhibition encapsulates anyone who enters the hallway, surrounding them with the beautifully grotesque pieces.

Komus, who graduated from the University of Manitoba’s fine arts program in 2009, often looks to nature for inspiration in her art. She tries to look at the world realistically and creates art that simultaneously attracts and repels.

Komus is currently in a mentorship program with MAWA (Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art), as well as starting some work for a travelling craft show.

Gorge and Grow is on display at the Semai Gallery at 264 McDermot Ave. until Saturday, Jan. 22.

Published in Volume 65, Number 15 of The Uniter (January 13, 2011)

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