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Laure Stevens-Lubin    


          Twin Entymologies


I spent a year in Kodaikkanal, a hill station founded a century ago by American missionaries 7000 feet in the Nilgiris (Blue Mountains) of south India.  Just before my arrival, the town installed stadium lights at the bus stand and Seven Roads Junction.  Nightly, a blizzard of moths swarmed to the lights from the surrounding jungle.  Each morning, hundreds lay crushed on the tarmac below.  Weve never seen these, a local said of three lyssa zampa. 

I began to photograph, video, and paint them, drawn by the subtle variations in their patterning, their feathers and clawed legs. The paintings echo the naturalist aesthetic from Itō Jakuchūs 18th-century scrolls to the contemporary work of Walton Ford.  The fluidity of the acrylic medium suggests the ephemeral nature of these fragile yet vigorous creatures.

Back in Virginia, I moved to House Mountain, near the Blue Ridge.  Here I found many of the same moths: the luna, the black witch, the ailanthus webworm, which has hitched a ride with the invasive tree of heaven.  The moths point to the effects of migration, both human and their own, as well as the interface between nature and technology and its often unforeseen consequences.



Pygospila tyres   

Achaea janata  

Eudocima phalonia   

Parahypenodes quadralis  

Atteva aurea (Ailanthus webworm)  

Schinia lucens  

Melanitis leda  

Targalla subocellata  


  All images copyright Laure Stevens-Lubin (laurestevenslubin.com).