North Carolina is no stranger to invasive species, as anyone who’s faced the steady encroachment of kudzu can tell you. But its often easy to forget that humans are among the most invasive species on the planet, often aiding other pests, whether we realize it or not.
Invasive Species, an art show envisioned by local artist Melissa Terrezza, makes a statement on mankind’s invasive nature while juxtaposing it with the habits of critters we have helped spread across the globe as a result.
“Really, we’re just looking at world changes. We kind of complain a lot about the environment and about how things get run over, and you look at human nature and how consumptive it is,” says Sean “Jinx” Pace, another local artist who is a part of the show. “But then if you look at nature’s nature, given the opportunity, it loves to take over as well.”
In addition to Pace, Terrezza also tapped local artists Severn Eaton and Ursula Gullow for the show, which opens at the
Satellite Gallery on Friday, July 19. While the show revolves around Terrezza’s original theme, she has given her fellow artists free reign when it comes to interpreting it.
“That’s what’s kind of fun about the show,” Terrezza says. “I don’t exactly know what everyone’s doing. They’ve run some things past me, but I just have faith that it will all come together.”
The freedom behind the theme has led to a varied definition of the invasive aspects of our lives. In addition to species like stink bugs and zebra mussels, Terrezza and Pace allude to the constant onslaught of everything from money to technology to Monsanto.
“[Severn]’s doing his take on genetically modified corn,” Terrezza says. “He’s going to be building some corn cobs out of parts. And he has a lot of microchips, so we’re thinking about doing this piece of a lot of microchips crawling up the wall like they’re invasive technology.”
The artwork on display will be as diverse as the artists’ interpretations of invasive species. Eaton and Gullow will showcase paintings and installations, and Pace, at the time of interview, was working on a large sculpture of a snake made from rusted conveyor belt parts.
Terrezza works with a variety of mediums as well, but a major part of her contribution to the show are screen-printed ceramics like the one pictured on the showcard above. That piece has special significance locally because it features the woolly adelgids, tiny insects that came from Asia and have killed off many hemlocks in the Pisgah National Forest.
“That is a major, major travesty to a lot of things — to shading the river for the trouts, to habitats for the honeybees — there’s a lot of problems,” Terrezza says.
And, of course, the repercussions of this destruction may soon come back to haunt us.
“Hemlocks burn really easily, and they’re falling everywhere. Forest fires may be happening around here one day because of these things,” Terrezza says. “Last summer, I remember driving around and going, ‘Oh my God, look at all these trees that are dead.’”
The opening reception for “Invasive Species” is Friday, July 19 from 7-10 p.m. The show will be located at the Satellite Gallery at 55 Broadway St. in Asheville. For more information, call 505-2225 or visit