Hard work, a sense of humor and a menagerie of insects have earned one senior art student a spot at the spring National Conference on Undergraduate Research in La Crosse, Wis., this month.David Folck’s art focuses on insects. He’s already had a number of UT successes, including receiving Undergraduate Summer Research and Creative Activity grants in 2011 and 2012 to support his work. He used the resources to study the structure, texture and color of various species. He inspected insects, drew them and researched their behaviors.
Folck is soft-spoken, humble, detail-oriented, with a killer work ethic honed before college during his time in the Navy. In other words: not quite the mad scientist that you might expect from viewing his work.
When he began to work with Diana Attie, professor emeritus of art, she gave him all the physical specimens and resources she had for his research.
“My goal when entering the Bachelor of Fine Art Program was to see where it takes me,” Folck said. “The only thing I have control over is how hard I work.”
He learned in January that “LANG LEBEN DIE INSEKTEN!” will be on display at the conference from Thursday to Saturday, April 11-13. Folck will be present to answer questions and discuss his work, the title of which translates to “Long live the insects!”
“Usually the National Conference on Undergraduate Research features the hard sciences,” Attie said. “It’s nice to see our art students among them because this conference features presenters from across the country.”
The three pieces Folck will present at the conference are “Vinsect Price,” “Bugged Outlaw,” a portrait of Clint Eastwood created by layering rubber stamp impressions of a housefly, and “Unique Quantification.”
A key example of Folck’s work, “Vinsect Price” is a drawing made with arrangement of insects scattered about the page to suggest the actor Vincent Price’s facial structure. This drawing brings to mind the fruit- and animal-based portraits of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, but adds a critical creep factor of houseflies, ladybugs, bees, caterpillars, crickets and butterflies climbing across one’s face.
“Unique Quantification” is a drawing on display in the Juried Student Exhibition in the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery. This wry, loosely academic study of the Carolina ground cricket was awarded first place in the Bachelor of Fine Arts I Exhibition. Folck applied his irreverent approach to entomology, incorporating pop culture, physics, equations, spectrograms of cricket chirps and candy. PEZ candies echo the appearance of a spectrogram, while one cricket’s neck is extended to expose candies inside.
More of Folck’s work can be seen in the first 2013 BFA Exhibition, which is on display through Sunday, April 14. Art by students Lisa Franko, Morgan Hayward, Kevin Leiter and Austin Tuttle also can be seen at the free, public exhibit. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.