Animalia Week: Underneath by Melinda Hurst Frye
Through the photographic process, Melinda Hurst Frye highlights the subtle world that lives and thrives under our feet. This is a world mostly unseen and often unappreciated by people. These beautiful images are a reminder of the complexities of nature.
Melinda Hurst Frye is a Seattle-based exhibiting artist, working in themes of implied environments and shared experiences within the still life aesthetic. Her current work, which illustrates the mystery and activity of subterranean and residential ecosystems was featured on Humble Arts Foundation and WIRED Photo, and in various solo and group exhibitions throughout the Northwest region. She was recently selected for a year-long commission with the Regional Trails System through 4Culture.
Melinda Hurst Frye holds an MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design and is a dedicated member of the Society for Photographic Education. Hurst Frye teaches photography at the Art Institute of Seattle, holds occasional workshops, and is an artist member of CORE gallery in Seattle, Washington. Melinda may be found digging holes, collecting and raising insects, while learning and making work about the biology of the northwest region.
With dirt under my nails, my heart jumps when my hand brushes against a worm in the soil. I am reminded of the world that thrives underground, unsettled by the mystery that is at my fingertips. I watch the beetle make its path through the strawberry plants. Who else is below me making their work in and on the earth? Who else calls my home, their home? The success and diversity of life near and below the surface contributes directly to life and survival above the surface, while species and behaviors of these residents are often unknown. The series of vignettes and implied subterranean ecosystems work as an illustrated look at what lives, dies and feasts at ground level and below. It is an examination of ecosystems within our reach, a reminder of nature’s presence and cycles in our backyards.
The images live in the space between the real and the mysterious, presenting the environment through a smaller lens of intimate and underground habitats. A combination of scans and photographs construct a reminder of nature’s presence and cycles in our backyards. The work punctuates the need to honor the health of our immediate spaces, as subterranean ecosystems reflect the condition of our greater, shared environment. Analogous to a scene from a natural history museum, flora and fauna take center stage to illustrate that we are always tied to migration, evolution and metamorphosis. The surface is not a border, but an entrance to homes, nurseries, highways and graveyards.
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