Bug Me! Gallery art crawl

20, 2018—This is the story of a 1700s insect obsession. Maria Sibylla Merian, a top bug lover/entomologist of her day, specialized in making exquisitely accurate drawings and etchings of plants and insects. Having fallen in love with silkworms at age 13, she left the comforts of her Swiss-German life, daughter in tow, to pursue her art subjects in Dutch Surinam, off the coast of South America. Where the bugs were eye-poppers. Her achievements included illustrating the life cycles of 186 species and documenting the nature of metamorphosis.

(left) Photo illustration by Matt Dorfman. Source photos: Bridgeman Images; (right) Portrait of Maria Sibylla Merian.

Remember the feeling of bugs in your teeth while cycling, or that smear of guts and goo on your windshield after a drive in the country? How long has it been since you were bugged by bugs? An article in The New York Times Magazine (Brooke Jarvis, “The Insect Apocalypse Is Here,” 11/27/18) relays evidence by experts and citizen scientists of an astounding global insect absence. In some areas, 90% of bugs no longer exist, leaving a gaping hole in the vital duty they perform in pollination and fertilization and in the earth’s richness. This series highlights insects across cultures and eras in Mia’s collection.