Ideal Bounds imagines a hypothetical near-future where the world’s bees have succumbed to colony collapse disorder. This wry, dystopian musing plays with the signifiers one finds in present-day museum exhibits depicting species which have become extinct due to human causes.
Ruth Marsh has been creating the multi-disciplinary, community engaged series of works which make up Ideal Bounds, since 2011. Contributions of found, dead bees are mailed to Marsh’s Halifax studio from individuals across Canada. The bees are preserved and meticulously repaired using discarded technology. The newly restored bees are then given life, frame-by-frame, through the process of stop motion animation.
The hundreds of mended and refurbished bees line shelves in the gallery space, each in its own small, glass case. Viewers are further invited to engage with this grotesque narrative by taking in the DIY instructional video Bee Taxidermy: A How To Guide which demonstrates the step-by-step process of restoring one’s own bee. On an opposite wall, the stop-motion work, Reanimate, presents a vision of a cybernetically altered hive populated by bee automatons.
This work plays with themes of environmental loss through practical, labour intensive and repetitive explorations of radical transformation: life to death, reality to memory and the surrealistic degradation of information that occurs with each successive change of state. What is left after each phase gains more and more the uncanny strangeness of a close yet unfaithful copy and what is created in the end is something else altogether: an irrevocably altered, transubstantiated other.
Opening Reception: Friday March 11 5pm – 7pm
Ruth Marsh is a multidisciplinary artist based out of Halifax, NS. Her work uses a poetic, absurd and often comically deadpan approach to address loss, absence and longing in the context of living creatures and the natural world. Since graduating from the Nova Scotia College
of Art and Design in 2006, her practice has spanned painting, drawing, taxidermy, video, performance, installation and stop-motion animation. Her work has been shown in galleries, museums and festivals in Canada and the US including The Confederation Centre of the Arts (Charlottetown, PE), Nocturne: Art at Night (Halifax, NS) and Worldfest International Film Festival (Houston, TX).