In this high-paced society today, it is easy to feel lost in the ever-changing culture surrounding us. Advances in technology bring us together in many ways yet also keep us from connecting to the world around us in a more traditional sense. This inevitability of change in our culture is explored in The Boxcar Studios’ eclectic show The Metamorphosis of a Hive: The Exploration of Cultural Change. Walking through the exhibit at the Woodbury Art Museum, it is easy to feel as if lost in a cabinet of curiosities, wandering around the mad workings of a creative genius seeking to make sense of the surroundings. On display through March 3, the exhibit features the works of 11 artists —The Boxcar Studios’ artists, as well as members of the broader Gallery community — as they seek to bring our attention to the “stories and emotions of those both seen and unseen in hopes of sharing the hive for the beautiful process of metamorphosis.”
Sitting in the middle of downtown Provo (156 W. 500 South), The Boxcar Studios & Gallery is a community-driven art space, housing seven artist studios as well as three storefront shops: Revolución Barbershop & Co., Man in the Moon Mercantile, and Rugged Grounds, a coffeehouse. Started by Jake Buntjer (aka Mister Pauper) in 2016, it aims to become a community hotspot, featuring live music, live drawing sessions, art shows, and parties.
The Metamorphosis of a Hive is curated by The Boxcar Studios’ founder and features the artist’s own installation piece “Creators Cathedral,” which greets visitors as they enter the exhibit, its red curtains pulled back, allowing a peek at what is inside. What one finds is a room of seemingly random collections of tools and knickknacks that create the ideal space for the creative mind. Drawing its audience in, the piece invites visitors to sit and contemplate the space around them, and write their own “confession of hope” to add to the jar featured in the center of the space. This participation and interaction with the piece sets the tone for the entire show and brings the viewer into the “hive mindset,” this idea that “we are all bees that belong as a hive.”
Lyndi Bone’s photograph collage “Pieces” reminds us of not just our connection to our surroundings, but also to each other. The collage features portraits of people past and present, young and old, layered together to create a cohesive piece. This work perfectly captures the main goal of the show, which is to remind us of how we are all “incredibly diverse and curious tenants” who “are all bees that belong as a hive.”
This sense of community is fostered throughout the entire exhibit, whether it be our bond with people, or, as in the case of Kelly Larsen’s “Beach Blanket,” the environment. This “blanket” of woven plastic bags, bottles, and other garbage spreads out on the floor, impossible to ignore, and reminds its viewers of our contribution to the by-product of our consumerist communities: waste. The analogy, though simple, is a powerful reminder of how much of an influence we can have negatively or positively on our environment and invites its spectators to make a change of their own habits.
A different approach to this idea is the photo collage from Laura Hendricks titled “NOT THAT UTAH NEEDS IT #1-18.” Hendricks’ photos feature the desert landscape of Utah and this collection of photographs captures the unique beauty of the redrock that covers the landscape of Utah, from its pink sunsets to starry nights. Hendricks’ interesting process of combining elements from two different locations and combining them into one image creates surreal photo collages that capture the feeling of the location, rather than reality. The collage brings the interpretation of the hive from a global to a local level, and reminds its audience to look to our local communities and landscapes as we find our place in the hive.
The landscape continues around the corner with Tatum Lee and Havoc Hendricks’ installation work “Graphite Landscapes.” The artists’ work surrounds you completely on four walls as you step into their creation of a graphite landscape. The work captures the complexity of the patterns found in nature, yet does so through a minimalist perspective, creating universality to the landscape, and allowing any visitor to the exhibit to draw from their own home scenery as a reference. This attention to detail continues the theme throughout the exhibit of letting its audience be a part of the exhibit through participation and universality.
The success of this exhibit, which also features the work of Zach Power, Chase Henson, Caitlyn Renshaw, Lauren Stratton and Trevor Christensen, derives from its ability to connect with its audience. The “hive” invokes a sense of community and connectedness, reflected not only in the artwork but also in the curator’s ability to draw his audience into the process. The innovative techniques and mediums used throughout the show, though impressive, can at times be overwhelming and chaotic, however the message manages to carry through as The Metamorphosis of a Hiveunfolds.
The Metamorphosis of a Hive: The Exploration of Cultural Change, The Boxcar Studios artists and Gallery community, Woodbury Art Museum, Orem, through March 3.
Carly is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University with a BA in Interdisciplinary Humanities and a minor in Art History. During her time at BYU she studied history and museum work in London and Paris and is currently interning at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Salt Lake City.