more art made by mother nature

an altogether more natural artistic intervention in the landscape -  the somewhat startling sight first witnessed on a sunday drive to the supermarket – a short stretch of rambling hedgerow wrapped in a fine, gossamer grey web. i passed the spot on two further occasions, and on the third drive-by pulled over to take a closer look… (photographs taken with a mobile phone)

i think it may have been a hawthorn or perhaps a spindle or elder bush but there was really nothing of it left, just a skeleton… cautiously peering into the faintly spooky, sticky mesh of fibres i could see hundreds of off-white, wriggly things…

i later googled caterpillars and webs and ascertained this was a colony of ermine moth larvae or caterpillars (later to become ermine moths) and they can completely envelop a tree or a shrub to keep predators from attacking their growing colony (which here must amount to many thousands of soon-to-be caterpillars!). i discovered a similar infestation has occurred in a public park in yorkshire… maybe it’s the prolonged spell of dry weather…

quite fascinating and yet mildly frightening in a way too, alluding to a small act of god’s damnation, a biblical allusion to the great plagues of egypt, or nature just proving its powers again – we are all doomed!.. but i think i’ll let you decide…

an obvious art-historical reference sprung to mind – the wrapped trees of christo & jean-claude

wrapping up the landscape, here looking especially marvellous in the early morning (or is it evening?) light…

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Trees, Fondation Beyeler and Berower Park, Riehen, Switzerland, 1997-98
[Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Trees, Fondation Beyeler and Berower Park, Riehen, Switzerland, 1997-98 (Photo: Wolfgang Volz) © 1998 Christo]

the trees still look ghostly but seem alive (this is winter), with the appearance of fluffy clouds that have just landed or are about to take off, the trees not tightly bound or swaddled into submission as other artists have done…

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Trees, Fondation Beyeler and Berower Park, Riehen, Switzerland, 1997-98
[Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Trees, Fondation Beyeler and Berower Park, Riehen, Switzerland, 1997-98 (Photo: Wolfgang Volz) © 1998 Christo]

curiously, it was about this time last year that i chanced upon or found some found or readymade art in the landscape (albeit of a humanly-constructed kind) – what is it about the month of may, i wonder?

2 Comments

  1. Posted June 12, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    that really is a spooky image Jazz. There is something inherently creepy to humans when confronted with evidence of a multiplicity of insects (particularly combined with sticky webs!).
    I like the comparison with the Christo wrapped trees, thanks for posting that image as I havent seen those previously.

  2. Jazz
    Posted June 12, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    thanks Mari

    i think if i saw this too often i would be freaked – also reminded me of arachnophobia (the movie)