Curated

A new HMNS exhibit inspires viewers to take a fresh look at nature

Curated: The Intersection of Art and Medicine


By Britni R. McAshan | April 30, 2019

Artist and naturalist Christopher Marley arranges insects, birds, crustaceans, fish, plants and reptiles in precise, 3-D displays that make viewers feel as if they’ve stepped into a bejeweled natural kaleidoscope.

Biophilia: A Dialogue with Art, Nature and Science, Marley’s new exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS), immerses visitors in the beauty and diversity of the natural world.

“Biophilia is a term that literally means a love of life or living things and that, in one word, encompasses how I feel about the natural world,” Marley said in a statement within the exhibit. “As a naturalist, my education has been almost entirely experience-based in the fields and the forests. I was watching these entire little ecosystems functioning and interacting with one another and it was a pivotal moment for me to connect with the natural world.”

The geometric arrangements of animal, mineral and plant specimens force viewers to consider nature in a new context.

“If you look at these organisms on their own in their natural environment, you might think they are scary or dangerous,” said Erin Mills, entomologist and director of the Cockrell Butterfly Center at HMNS. “But this exhibit presents those creatures as artwork and allows viewers to see them in a different way.”

Walking through the exhibit, one cannot help but notice the immaculate condition of the hundreds of thousands of specimens. Marley collected them in an environmentally sensitive way, by either reclaiming them, as he did with vertebrates and blooms, or culling them sustainably, as he did with oceanic invertebrates and insects.

“I employ natives in these different ecosystems to sustainably harvest common species,” Marley said in a statement. “It gives the locals a way to make a living and it also reverses the economic pressure to develop that habitat.”

As humans, it is also important to remember that we rely on these species for survival. From jewel-toned insects to rainbow-colored parrots and carnivorous plants, all the specimens play a vital role in the planet’s ecosystem and, in turn, human health and survival.

“It’s kind of like Jenga,” Mills said, referring to the classic block-stacking game. “What happens if you take out the one piece that is holding everything together? These species do so much to pollinate and even eat plants. They have such an intricate relationship in all of our food webs that it all builds on itself. These species are also great indicators of the health of an environment, so if you remove even one of these creatures, it could be devastating.”

Biophilia: A Dialogue with Art, Nature and Science will be on display through September 2 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr. Information: 713-639-4629.




Social Posts

profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

Thanks to @AMericliMD and an autologous breast reconstruction, #breastcancer survivor Melody Laughbaum feels like herself again: https://t.co/pqfXq73Luv #PSTM19 #endcancer

52 mins ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

@CDunaway1948 Your son-in-law is in our thoughts. Let us know if he needs anything while he’s here.

10 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

Our @ppisters has been nominated for @modrnhealthcr’s 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare for the transformational change he’s spurred at MD Anderson through increased transparency, communication and engagement.You can vote here: https://t.co/rheugPrYIv. #endcancer https://t.co/ssO1wjcTBe

12 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

VHA Innovation Experience: Author, VA leaders challenge “business as usual” https://t.co/qDIgcp8ypm via #VAntagePoint

12 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

VA North Texas employees train to save lives of Veterans in crisis https://t.co/rd9ag9ep82 via #VAntagePoint

14 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

In honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness month, see how our researchers are working to help young cancer patients. https://t.co/hKMVvwuVZn #NationalChildhoodCancerAwarenessMonth #ChildhoodCancer

16 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Find free local events with Team RWB’s new app https://t.co/TOb4fEROus via #VAntagePoint

16 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Have you signed up for the @BCMWellness5K yet? Registration prices go up next Friday! https://t.co/qoUNoTS7Ao #wellness #community https://t.co/BzTJe8tWGH

20 hours ago
profile_image

Houston Methodist

@MethodistHosp

@LCLobosFootball We appreciate the shout-out

20 hours ago
profile_image

Houston Methodist

@MethodistHosp

@RiceOwlsVoice @VoiceofBears @tunein @coloranalyst @mattpedersen5 Thanks for the shout-out

20 hours ago
profile_image

Houston Methodist

@MethodistHosp

@ShaneHolbrook42 @astros Thank you for sharing this ferociously fun pic!

20 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Meet Rachel Curry, a student in our Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, as she talks about her experience at Baylor College of Medicine. Learn how you can apply. https://t.co/I7WiYGVZrY #education #graduateschool https://t.co/XUvs4fz64p

22 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

RT @UTSDhouston: We're so very proud of our dean and alum, John Valenza, DDS '81, named 2019 Texas Dentist of the Year™ by the Texas Academ…

2 days ago
profile_image

Memorial Hermann

@memorialhermann

This colorful Grilled Shrimp and Orzo Bowl is a real crowd-pleaser. Get this recipe and more: https://t.co/pBruxrQ8Kr. #healthyfood https://t.co/33cy3vcqwk

2 days ago
profile_image

Texas Children's

@TexasChildrens

We're celebrating #NationalChildPassengerSafety Week with FREE car seat checkup events in September!In partnership with @safekids Greater Houston, @TexasChildrens Center for Childhood Injury Prevention will be hosting free car seat checkup events. Make an appointment today! https://t.co/3swdV7KI2V

2 days ago