Pasadena Museum of California Art
490 E. Union St.
Pasadena, CA 91101
Nov 14, 2010- April 24, 2011
" One bee doesn't make a hive..." A video of a single bee trapped in a puddle of water becomes a "gospel for bees"-buzzing and illuminating a circle of music stands. Grocery bags become makeshift sheet music. Their recognizable pulp scent stimulates nostalgic and prosaic associations. The grocery bags are becoming part of our past. Wheeler also uses them to create a wax covered groin vault-hive at the entrance of his installation.
When I spoke with Wheeler and shared my insights, he said that the bee trapped in the water symbolized a heroic struggle. Wheeler also stated; "...to make sense of life look to the metaphors of bees in an endless struggle." Bees need to drink water to cool down their hives and dilute honey to feed the larva. We discussed how the bees are necessary to our survival. Wheeler continued to compare man's daily struggles, energy and humilty with the bee. He is interested in paying attention to everyday occurrences. As an artist he hopes to "irritate" the viewer into seeing things differently. The repetitive nature of the video serves as a way for "man to be faced with himself."
In the darkness of a cinema, Wheeler invites us into a metaphoric hive structure which returns us to our origins. The bee is a messenger. Its "buzzing" has a familiar maternal murmur. The bee in the puddle is communicating; "is there anyone out there?" Recycling, protecting nature and community-the bee has knowledge of all that happens on earth.
Wheeler made it evident that reminisces of architectural structures such as the Roman coliseum and amphitheater were integral to the installation. These are structures of the past. As with the grocery bags, Wheeler said that he was looking backwards with historical items that indicate the passing of time. I also saw the importance of staying in touch with the earth's cycles as seen by the ocean waves. Robert Smithson's "Spiral Jetty" came to mind with the structure's influences by the water and the tides.