David Krut Projects, New York is pleased to present SEED, the gallery’s first solo exhibition with artist Judi Harvest. The exhibition features a selection of large-scale oil paintings and sculptures created in collaboration with master Murano glassmakers.
After learning about the global disappearance of honeybees and the vital role they play in the pollination of our food chain in the mid-2000s, raising awareness of the importance of their preservation became a central part of Judi Harvest’s work and life. She drew parallels to another form of collapse she saw taking place near Venice, Italy – a city where Harvest has lived, worked and exhibited her art for the past forty years. The rise of mass-production has caused a significant decline in handmade glassmaking on the island of Murano, leaving many once-thriving glass factories abandoned. During the thirty-two years Harvest has worked with master glassblower Giorgio Giuman and his family, the factory they own has gone from employing seventy-five people to a mere four. In response, Harvest began interweaving the lives of honeybees, their role in our global food chain, and the work of Murano masters in her work, exploring the strength and fragility of these communities affected by a changing industrial landscape.
The central work on view in SEED is a set of three display cases filled with more than 1,500 glass seeds, plants and flowers titled Past, Present + Future (2017). Harvest collaborated with seven master Murano glassmakers to create these delicate pieces, employing three ancient and challenging Murano glass techniques: cera persa (lost wax), lume (flame work), and soffiato (blown). The bold, vibrant colors of the glass botanicals on display in the cases titled Past and Present are inspired by Harvest’s Honey Garden (2013-present), a site-specific installation and living garden sown in an abandoned field on the grounds of Giuman’s glass factory. Planted to create a bee-friendly environment, Honey Garden currently houses eight functioning beehives and is an oasis of 30 fruit trees and more than 500 types of fragrant flowers, many of which are represented in Past, Present + Future. Harvest’s research of seeds for Honey Garden led to her interest in seed banks, like the world’s largest, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. Located deep inside an icy mountain on an island between mainland Norway and the North Pole, the Svalbard inspired Harvest to create the clear, “frozen” botanicals in the display case titled Future. With Past, Present + Future, Harvest asks the viewer to appreciate nature’s seasonal order and consider how the industrialization of agriculture threatens our food chain and the bees that pollinate the world’s crops.
On view alongside Past, Present + Future is a selection of Harvest’s lyrical, abstract oil paintings inspired by the behaviors of honeybees, and a selection of Honey Vessels (2013) each created by blowing Venetian glass and gold leaf into hexagonal chicken wire, resulting in unique, abstract sculptures reminiscent of honeycomb.
Judi Harvest (b. Miami, Florida) is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in painting, sculpture, and Murano glass. Since 1987, she has had more than twenty solo exhibitions in Venice, Italy. Recent solo exhibitions include The Mysterious Traveling Honeybees of Venice during the 2019 Venice Glass Week and CROSS-POLLINATION: Honeybees and Murano Glass, curated by Eliza Gonzales at The Coral Gables Museum in 2018. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The New York Times Style Magazine, Miami Herald, Vogue Italia, Bloomberg, and Widewalls, among others. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in Urbino, Italy and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Barry University in Miami, FL. She lives and works between New York, NY and Venice, Italy.