* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.
Artist Tasha Lewis has been creating swarms of magnetic butterflies and installing them on the streets of Indianapolis, creating guerrilla art that does not cause any harm to public property. Her current work is focused on re-imagining taxidermy and other methods of preserving life. Her interest in preservation stems from her fascination with the re-presentational powers of photography. She is fascinated with how we as viewers relate to a leaf that has been mechanically produced to look and feel very similar to a real leaf. She has been scaling up that idea to make animal bodies, tree limbs, and she hopes to eventually create whole environments.
Tasha explains the work further by saying, “my process centers around a cyanotype coated fabric. The cyanotype process dates from the 1870s and is one of the earliest forms of photography. Its images are blue to white, and are exposed in the sun and developed with water. They can be toned or bleached into a purple/mauve or orange/yellow accordingly. The blue of these pieces represents a mineral lens on nature. The natural world is full of blue things, but they are not fertile things; the oceans and sky are blue but there are very few blue animals or plants. The cyan blue of these pieces feels like life in a way, but it also feels frozen. I am attempting to catch life, to preserve it in motion, and to allow it to transcend the usual forms of human conservation.”