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NYMPHALIDAE PHOSPHORESCENCE 2018
Jared Betts’ series Nymphalidae Phosphorescence is an elegy to Night Glow Highway 1995. By returning to the same site on the banks of the Petitcodiac River, this project enables passers-by to revisit the original exhibition in a new light. Betts has drawn on the technical, formal, and iconographic elements of the panels made at the time to produce a new series, while simultaneously making reference to the hybrid techniques of Paul Édouard Bourque, to the large wings of George Blanchette’s Anges déchus, and to the natural subjects taken from the surrounding marsh by Marc Cyr and Nat Snider.
Faithful to his practice of rendering the natural world abstract, Betts carried out research at the New Brunswick Museum in order to sample the patterns and colours of its collection of indigenous and exotic butterflies. The work’s title evokes his interest in these insects that have a surreal beauty: nymphalidae is the scientific term for the largest family of butterflies and phosphorescence is an allusion to their often dazzling colours.
After having gathered enough material to prepare his compositions, Betts became engrossed in his creation, carrying out technical experiments at the Imago Artist-run Print Shop. The formal innovations that came out of this exploratory work were then amalgamated with his signature pictorial style and fluorescent chromatic scale. His large abstract compositions exist in harmony with the surrounding landscape and offer passers-by the opportunity to plunge momentarily into the realm of the imaginary. Jared’s butterfly panels are mounted permanently in an outdoor exhibition on the banks of the Petitcodiac. The project was curated by Elise Anne Laplant & Michelle Drapeau.