435 King Street East, Cambridge, ON
Comprised of thousands of insects, butterflies, and bees, Pest is an exhibition of a series of carefully crafted display boxes that, at first glance, appear as specimens from a natural museum collection. Swartz's scenes, however, belong to a world of their own. They are humorously created through unique combinations of characters and found toy materials anthropomorphizing the tiny creatures within fictional scenarios. While addressing the larger issues of environment, natural death, and consumer culture, these delicate displays lure the viewer into a sense of wonder through narratives that borrow largely from popular culture and traditions of fantasy story books.
All of the insects used in Swartz's art died of natural causes and some have been donated to the artist. Pest is supported by funding from The Toronto Arts Council and The Ontario Arts Council.
Amy Swartz is a Toronto-based visual artist. She creates highly detailed and meticulously crafted collections that combine both natural and artificial materials in sculpture, installation and drawing. Her work explores the idea of obsession – not only in the practice of art, but also in humanity's perceived control over nature, life, and death. As R.M. Vaughan wrote, "Swartz makes even the tiniest deaths meaningful (and, yes, morbidly funny)."