by Allyson Vaughan
The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania will soon be hosting some larger-than-life creepy crawly visitors. The Big Bug exhibition, featuring statues of everyday bugs that have been magnified to extraordinary sizes, is coming to make a temporary home in Philadelphia.
I was lucky enough to be able to talk to the man behind the beautifully crafted bugs: artist David Rogers of Long Island, N. Y. Rogers began his work with larger than life statues in the late 1980s, using saplings from trees to create “rustic works,” as he called them. From there, his work began to take shape in the image of a dinosaur.
Rogers then moved on to create fourteen individual bugs for a series he called “Big Bugs.” Using different types of hardwood, as well as plywood and steel, Rogers was able to bring 14 everyday creatures to outrageous sizes. His collection includes a series of ants, a praying mantis and a spider perched on a web, to name just a few.
When asked about his monumental monstrosities, Rogers said, “Individually they can tell the story.”
Rogers has complete faith in his creations that they can make an impact on their viewers to take notice of something that can sometimes be taken for granted. It was obvious that Rogers is passionate about his work, as he changes and redesigns his pieces if he is unhappy with them. He said his bugs were constantly a work-in-progress, and he is always looking to improve each piece.
Rogers constructed his creatures with no abstraction and used a subject material that is easy for the public to fully embrace and understand.
When asked how people have reacted to his creations, Rogers laughed and said, “You know, I’ve heard about people who don’t like going in the shower and seeing a spider, but people have enjoyed them.” These playful and easily recognizable statues are an awe-inspiring experience for people of all ages.
Rogers will be bringing his bugs to Philadelphia in late March to begin the installation, and the actual Big Bug exhibit will be opening at the Morris Arboretum on April 1. The bugs will be residing in Philadelphia until August 31, and then they will buzz off to another venue.
The grand opening will be on April 6, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests are encouraged to dress as bugs for a parade around the garden. Bug-inspired music, crafts, activities, and even a Big Bug inspired scavenger hunt map, will all be available to enjoy by visitors. To make the day even more special, experts from the Academy of Natural Sciences will be bringing a variety of bugs (maybe a tarantula or a scorpion!) and some fascinating mounted specimens.
Be sure to stop by the Morris Arboretum to have a summer experience filled with Big Bugs and big fun! For more information and more details on other events and classes that are to come, please visit: www.morrisarboretum.org