In her art, Nadezda Nikolova-Kratzer’s fascination with flying insects, creatures not commonly adored, is clear. Using the historic wet plate collodion process, the artist “[illuminates] forms that are seemingly mundane and easily overlooked, seeking to highlight their intrinsic significance as well [as] to impart new meanings.” The insects in Nikolova-Kratzer’s pictures–butterflies, dragonflies, cicadas–represent rebirth, change, life cycles. They appear mysterious and ethereal in the images, moving gracefully through murky, textured backgrounds. As well as the insect photographs, I enjoy those the artist has made with birds. Overall, the images in Alae feel at the same time luminous and ominous, a combination I appreciate.

From the artist’s statement: Mysterious and able to move between earth, water and air, flying insects have inspired fables, myths and symbolic interpretation since ancient times. They conjure up universal themes of change and self-realization, spiritual transformation and enlightenment, lifecycles and immortality. As a body of work, “Alae” manifests an ongoing curiosity with cicadae, dragonflies, and other flying insects. The work is partly an intuitive reaction to beautiful and beautifully grotesque forms and partly an intentional reference to symbols. The photogram technique and the wet plate collodion substrate serve to deepen the aura of allegory and otherworldliness that envelops these liminal creatures.

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