New Lyman Allen Exhibition Invites Viewers into the Hidden World of Insects

In the air, water, and even under foot, insects inhabit every domain of our daily lives, performing essential functions that balance our fragile ecosystem on earth. By using cutting-edge technology and custom methods, artist Bob Sober created Small Wonders: Insects in Focus, an exhibition of breathtaking beauty that allows viewers to see this hidden world like they’ve never seen it before. Small Wonders aims to inspire, in an artistic way, our natural curiosity to understand the form, function, and diversity of nature. The exhibition opens April 6 and is on view through July 23.

Bob Sober, a visual artist as well as technological pioneer whose photographic techniques are the subject of educational tutorials, offers a series of 30 images that bring the natural world to a scale rarely experienced until now. Small Wonders finds viewers at the intersection of art and science and brings together two fields of thought in a provocative and inspiring way.

Insects have been on earth 350 million years, while sharing the planet with humans for only the past 2 million years. Hundreds of thousands of insect species have been documented (scientists believe 30 million may exist), far outnumbering the total of all other animal species. Insects are so prolific that thousands share our own backyards.

Creating human-scale images of insects, with resolution so high that every hair, dimple, and tiny structure is clearly revealed, was impossible prior to the technological advancements of the past ten years. High-resolution digital cameras, fast personal computers, economical digital storage, and powerful software applications capable of assisting with the assembly of hundreds or thousands of individual photographs create the opportunity to capture accurate images of insects as they truly exist.

These new ways of seeing confront viewers with the idea that insects display the elements we attribute to good design or beautiful artwork. Colors like neon green, sapphire blue, crimson red, deep violet, and brilliant yellow are all part of the insect world.  Wild, multi-colored patterns sometimes come from hair, sometimes from iridescent scales, and other times from colors integral to the insect’s exoskeleton. Smooth metallic finishes and heavily stippled texture may exist on the same insect. Strange body shapes, delicate wing structures, and beautifully engineered body components captivate. These tiny creatures are indeed artwork, in every sense of the word.

625 Williams Street • New London, CT 06320 860.443.2545 • www.lymanallyn.org Bob Sober, Cicada (Pomponia Intermedia) Thailand, 2013; digital image printed on aluminum, 40 x 60 inches; Courtesy of art’s IMPORTANT, LLC.   

This exhibition is organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Join us for a family-friendly reception on Tuesday, April 11 from 4 to 6 p.m. with avid insect collector Maishe Dickman. Examine real insect specimens and explore the exhibition. To learn more about the event, visit lymanallyn.org. To RSVP, call 860.443.2545 or email info@lymanallyn.org.

For more information or to request images, please contact Rebecca Dawson by email at dawson@lymanallyn.org.

About ExhibitsUSA
This exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than twenty-five exhibitions on tour to over 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. These exhibitions create access to an array of arts and humanities experiences, nurture the understanding of diverse cultures and art forms, and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities. For more about ExhibitsUSA, email MoreArt@maaa.org or visit www.eusa.org.

About Mid-America Arts Alliance
Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. We achieve this primarily through our national traveling exhibition programs, innovative leadership development, and strategic grant making. We are especially committed to enriching the cultural life of historically underserved communities by providing high quality, meaningful, and accessible arts and culture programs and services. We believe in more art for more people. Additional information about M-AAA is available at www.maaa.org.

About the Lyman Allyn Art Museum
The Lyman Allyn Art Museum welcomes visitors from New London, southeastern Connecticut and all over the world. Established in 1926 with a gift from Harriet Allyn in memory of her seafaring father, the Museum opened the doors of its beautiful neoclassical building surrounded by 12 acres of green space in 1932. Today it presents several changing exhibitions each year and houses a fascinating collection of over 17,000 objects from ancient times to the present, including art from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe, with particularly strong collections of American paintings, decorative arts and Victorian toys and doll houses. The Museum is located at 625 Williams Street, New London, Connecticut, exit 83 off I-95. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 – 5 p.m.; it is closed on Mondays and major holidays. For more information call 860.443.2545, ext. 2129 or visit www.lymanallyn.org