Lauren Levato - October 2007

“Charm” from the ENTOMOMANCY series

I use real insects in my art.  I am fascinated with insects and arachnids, an immense animal group with intricate social structures and routines.  Much like insects and plants, humans use codes and signals to convey complex thoughts and messages:  mating, navigation, locating food, calling for help, or signaling warnings.

Researching and investigating ancient codes and languages has influenced my thinking and approach to this work.  I am interested in The Druidic Tree Alphabet, a language comprised of leaves; Nüshu, the secret Chinese women’s script; the Incan Khipu method of record keeping, a system of knots; as well as my own code, written while I was a child in an abusive family.  My personal code evolved out of a traumatic time in my own life and involves insects, plants, poetry, myth, and metaphor. 

In this series the viewer can be likened to a reader, as in tarot cards, runes, or bones.  Insects and other parts of the assemblages make up a narrative that is open to interpretation based on what questions are asked and who is “reading” the boxes, reading the insects.  What if we used insects the way we use other objects or signs as telltales or warnings?  What if we tossed out some beetle shells to foretell our futures?  Instead of a queen there is a cicada, or instead of a fool there is a longhorn beetle.  Other occult ideas have also entered the boxes, such as knots, circles, and hair. 

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