A creepy, freaky and utterly cool art show opens Saturday at the MAC650 Art Gallery in Middletown's North End. "Weird Science: In the Life Cycle" promises to be a fascinating collection of science- and nature-themed art that runs the gamut from plush protozoans to delicately detailed insect prints and even a Steampunk quadriped.
“Weird Science,” which includes workshops for kids and adults, features the work of the Weird Bug Lady, Dr. Grymm, Mary McCarthy, Vincent Vernacatola, Christian Perez, Kaylee Belli, Katharine Owens and others whose study includes science and environmental art.
Middletown-based Owens, the "insect collector" and full-time tenure-track assistant professor of politics and government at the University of Hartford, creates woodcuts and linoleum cuts that are hand-drawn, hand-cut, and hand-printed in her home studio
Her most recent project is "Clockwork Invertebrates," which recreates and envisions invertebrates (insects, spiders, and crustacean-type creatures) and some flowers as clockwork.
The Weird Bug Lady, entomologist Brigette Zacharczenko, creates plush soft sculpture bugs, insects, arachnids, molluscs, microscopic invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians and extinct organisms.
"As a child, I was frustrated by the lack of plush toys in the form of insects or other unusual animals," Zacharczenko says. "And if they did exist, they were usually anatomically incorrect. My dream is to provide plush toys to people of all ages who are looking for their favorite not-quite-cute-and-cuddly animal. I specialize in creating custom orders for graduate students, professors and researchers who desire a plushie of their study organism."
Check out Zacharczenko's website and Etsy shop for one-of-a-kind caterpillars, amoebas, squid, unsegmented flatworms, snakes of all kinds, a bearded dragon spotted stingray.
Dr. Grymm, aka Joey Marsocci, has been a freelance designer of theme park attractions, toys, puppets, graphic marketing, film props, and private consignments for more than 18 years. A graduate of California Institute of the Arts with a BFA in film and animation, Marsocci's mix of Victorian elegance and dark science fiction styling through sculpture and design gave him the natural advantage to design for the growing popularity of the world of Steampunk.
In the summer of 2009, Marsocci hosted and curated the first annual Steampunk Bizarre in Middletown, which featured two of Dr. Grymm's interactive "Brain Storm" Machines, and his Steampunk "Eye Pod" Victrola that is on display along with several custom designed Steampunk contraptions as a permanent art installation at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Vernacatola is an artist from Berlin who loves comics, video games and his three silly cats. "When starting a sketch, I never know how it is going to look in the end. I let my imagination run wild. I have always loved sketching with a pencil. With that in mind, I set out to find a way to keep my pencil sketches visible, even in the final product. I was always fascinated seeing the sketch, rather than the final piece because I love to see the process and how the artist thought before anything solid was laid down."
The event includes interactive art and sculptures, food and a science demonstration. Proceeds to the Connecticut Audubon Society.
Saturday's opening runs from 5-8 p.m. at MAC650 Art Gallery, 650 Main Street, Middletown. The Weird Bug Lady and Dr. Grymm will hold all-ages workshops on Sept. 6 from 5-8 p.m. in which Grymm will show folks how to sculpt a fairy with hot glue and foam. The Weird Science show runs through Sept. 14.