Barbara Norfleet

The Illusion of Orderly Progress
by Barbara Norfleet
Publisher's Description Review
Barbara Norfleet's bugs are more human than humans. In this remarkable collection of photographs, Norfleet has posed insects and arachnids in dioramas that profoundly illustrate the failings and foibles of our own species. In his foreword, entomologist E.O. Wilson notes, "The artist means to tell us something about human nature, particularly in its more vainglorious, cowardly, and other foolish manifestations."

Photos of human workers engaged in meaningless toil would make a somewhat overdone point, but Norfleet's carefully posed insects and strange, barren landscapes pull us away from the familiar just enough to make us see things we might have missed. Her gorgeous and rare insects are so peculiar, so engagingly presented that they provoke brand-new reactions to such activities as capital punishment, domestication of other animals, and war. In one photo entitled Little Time for Whimsy, a line of serious beetles works hard at pushing their burdens--Where? Why? And for how long? You may as well ask why some of us voluntarily sit in cubicles eight hours a day. Another diorama (Am I Pretty?) gently mocks vanity as a line of garishly colored tropical beetles competes for the gold star that will presumably bring ultimate satisfaction. Insect society seems to have a lot in common with our own. Besides the thoughtful and clever poses, each photo affords a close look at some of the most amazing creatures you'll ever see. It's a wonderland of entomological ecstasy. --Therese Littleton

ISBN: 0375405585
Publisher: Knopf
Hardcover : 101 pages
Language: English
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