Metamorphosis

2019

Metamorphosis

Porcelain clay, resin, marble, copper wire, glass eyes, acrylic paint.
9.5 x 8 x 6 inches

I initially created this small hybrid creature – part human, part Monarch butterfly – earlier this year, in
response to a charitable initiative to repair the roof of a local Presbyterian Church in Bloomfield, NJ. After
a member of the church ministry approached me for a donation of salable work on the theme of Angels, I
began thinking about angels themselves, and their role as intercessors and traveler between realms. Not
totally of heaven or of earth, I created this hybrid and rather vulnerable being made of gold, its body
modeled after Rodin, and its wings, eyes, and proboscis based on the extensive research material I have
accumulated on the Monarch Butterfly. Angels act as our protectors, but who protects them? I have long
created hybrids of human and animal species, and was grateful for this opportunity to work on a smaller
scale than usual, and enjoyed looking to the work of Renaissance goldsmiths in my choice of coloring and
composition.
For the last 10 years I have been making work related to saving the Monarch butterfly population, whose
migratory patterns I have studied closely ever since I attended the Bio Art and Science Laboratory
institute at SVA. Butterflies (which travel overhead by the thousands every year) are a key link in
pollination and crop health. Without them, our food supply, and our very health, would suffer. We—as
humans—must, in effect, become their guardian angels if they are to go on protecting us.
“Metamorphosis” crouches on a cold marble base; its body is hermaphroditic (part male, part female), its
eyes are glass, and its proboscis is copper wire. The wing patterning is based on actual wings I have
observed under powerful TKNAME microscopy while at SVA. The title references Kafka, because his
monstrous-and-fully-compassion-worthy character, Gregor Samsa, has long sustained me in the creation
of numerous other chimeric hybrids I have created over the years—monkey-human newborns, chickenhuman
toddlers, and giraffe-human young women, to name a few.

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EK

© 2020 Jamie Lehrhoff Levine. All Rights Reseved

© 2023 by EK. All rights reserved.

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