How Thousands of Dead Bugs Become a Mesmerizing Work of Extraordinary Beauty


Jennifer Angus’ artwork is startling, especially when it dawns on you that what is on view is not beautifully drawn, patterned wallpaper. Depending on your mindset, it’s either a nightmarishly freakish, or beautifully mesmerizing assemblage, of insects

Beyond the visceral gut reaction, a deeper provocation comes with the ideas behind her work—what is beauty? What does it say about the power of nature, or man’s quest to control nature? What about man’s impact on the planet?

Angus, whose In the Midnight Garden is on display at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., does not shy away from expressing her own thoughts about what might otherwise be taken as an abstraction. She aims to play with perceptions, to challenge hard and fast beliefs about the insect world, and to stir a broader thought process.

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