Hexapodarium book

By Gail Wight
In conversation with Lawrence Weschler
With essays by Iain Boal & Meredith Tromble
San Francisco, California: Salt Point Press, 2022. Edition of 1000.

10 x 8.25 “; 120 pages. Offset printing. Smyth bound, headbands, gilding. Debossed cloth hardcover. In illustrated paper wrapper.

Press statement: “What might houseflies, who evolved 65 million years ago, look like 65 million years in the future? Wight created a series of prints in 2014 in which flies have evolved to mimic familiar flowers: daisies, calla lilies, tulips and astors.

“Now, all sixty-four original prints have been gathered together in this gorgeous herbarium designed by Michelle Frey. With essays by Iain Boal and Meredith Tromble, this herbarium contains many additional photos, a conversation between Lawrence Weschler and Gail Wight, a Latin dictionary of flower names, and four full-bleed spreads of Wight’s work Land of the Flies.

“Filled with beautiful and detailed floral specimens, ‘Hexapodarium’ echoes the great botanical collections of previous centuries. Yet these flowers are otherworldly, constructed entirely from wings of ordinary house flies. They were created using composite photography of high resolution microscopic images of flies that expired in the artist’s studio during a particularly hot summer. Each flower alludes to a true plant species, reflected in its Latin binomial: part flower, part fly. In turn, Hexapodarium’s flowers become the palette for ‘Land of the Flies’. These frieze-like futuristic landscapes are built from hundreds of composited layers of flowers, flies, and other interloping flora and fauna.

“Three authors weigh in on ‘Hexapodarium’. Lawrence Weschler, New Yorker columnist and author of ‘Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees’ and ‘True to Life: Twenty Five Years of Conversation with David Hockney’, engages Wight in a conversation traversing Darwin’s voyages on the Beagle, Dutch vanitas paintings, and the making of Hexapodarium.

“Iain Boal, social historian of technics and the commons and co-author of ‘Resisting the Virtual Life and Afflicted Powers’, sees ‘Hexapodarium’ as an art for the anthropocene, where we relinquish our hold on the future and engage in celebrating those creatures surrounding us who have survived multiple epochs and hold the promise of evolutionary wiles.

“Meredith Tromble ties it all together, placing Hexapodarium in the larger scope of Wight’s works of art. For decades, Wight has focused on life forms other than our own. Evolution, cognition, the animal-state-of-being, and deep time have been a source of biological allegory for Wight’s playful and provocative creations.”