The Hive JQ

The Hive is a community hub for Birmingham in an historic building, with an award-winning organic café and bakery, craft workshops, exhibitions and event spaces.

The Hive Gallery had the pleasure of exhibiting Franziska Schenk’s illuminating series of larger-than-life butterflies. The exhibition was a great success, and followed on perfectly from our previous exhibition on John Ruskin. Six huge butterfly canvases graced our gallery walls, and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to make them really shine - the gallery was set in a magical low light, and using blue and white lights (and torches for our little visitors!) we illuminated the shimmering nano-pigment technology of the butterflies to really make the exhibition come alive.

Our visitors really enjoyed the show:

“Truly amazing - no words”
“Such dynamic iridescence!”
“I haven’t seen anything like this before. The paintings are absolutely fantastic and very unique”
“Beautiful pictures… we have a newfound appreciation of butterflies”

Schenk’s series, ‘Erebus Obscura’ was initially developed in 2009 as part of Darwin 200.

“In response to Darwin's iconic description of the development of the eye, Schenk draws on novel biomimetic techniques and paint-technology to create artworks inspired by the astonishingly realistic eyespots adorning the wings of the rare moth Erebus obscura.

Mirroring the process of evolution, latest colour-shifting nano-particles and innovative reproduction techniques are employed to create successively 'modified' variations of the 'same' moth painting. Simultaneously magnifying, yet focusing in on, the subject, each additional repeated version evolves from the previous template - but inevitably change and mutation leads to the formation of new, modified patterns, shapes and hues.

To capture the ephemeral quality of the colour, the artist draws on her expertise of utilising cutting-edge iridescent 'pigments'. Thus, depending on the light and viewing angle, an apparently dull brown moth transforms itself into a glittering beauty - before our very eyes.

The complex interrelationships between the evolution of colour, camouflage, display and perception are artistically explored.”