Luvamuncher has been exhibited in:
No Muttering, 2001, contemporary printmedia curated by Rilka Oakley, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, The University of NSW; travelling to Sydney - Gosford Regional Art Gallery, NSW - The Queensland University of Technology Art Gallery, Brisbane.
Wild sheep chase, 2001 contemporary print and photo media, curated by Patsy Payne and Denise Ferris. Canberra School of Art Gallery, ANU, ACT
In the 1954 black and white movie THEM! a colony of desert ants receive a dose of radioactive residue from World War II nuclear testing. The only word a traumatised child can hysterically scream, having witnessed her parents devoured by these monsters, is 'them!' A pivotal scene involves the heroine, an apprentice entomologist; separated from her companions in a wild desert storm, she suddenly finds herself confronted by a giant ant defending its territory. Alone and in danger, curiosity for these impressive creatures outweighs her fear. Keeping her head and using her knowledge of ant behaviour, she assists the authorities to outsmart them, thus saving the world.
Situated in the first decade of the cold war and in the climate of atomic terror, one can easily identify the many metaphors describing the 'us against them' psychology. But this studio mythology also pinpoints the development of modern science in the atomic age. It reflect the growing authority of scientific knowledge and the role of the observer applying knowledge to visualise the unknown.
Now that lenses allow us to see microscopic organisms previously invisible to the naked eye, the infinitesimal can appear to us like monsters. I wondered what my collection of miniaturised plastic objects would look like in the macro.
As an experiment I prepared a praying mantis to be enlarged to seven meters wide by four meters high. Giving the creature a dose of irradiation in Photoshop, I then tiled the image in QuarkXpress (the publishing program of the day) so that I could enlarge it in sections. Using the available technology, such as laser printer, the work required an entire 500 ream pack of A4 laser paper. To piece this enormous puzzle together, I used the registration marks and a time function which printed on the edge of each page. Printing the image from left to right, I used the recorded time to work out the sequential order of each page; one page printed every minute. This information was cropped in the main body but I kept it at the very edges to perfectly emulated scientific data.
Its title Luvamuncha, plays on the phenomena of sexual cannibalism displayed by praying mantis mating while under laboratory observation; the female eats the males head. Whether they do this or not in a natural environment is currently debatable. An excellent example of this revolting act can be found on You Tube. Beware, it is graphic!