'We Rule'-Catherine Chalmers
Catherine Chalmers’ new and ongoing multimedia project We Rule, celebrating the fascinating world of leafcutter ants, was in exhibition at Gallery DeNovo in Ketchum, Idaho throughout last summer. Gallery DeNovo director, Robin Reiners commented about the exhibit: “Captured in astounding detail, the photographs provide insight to the pride and personality of the individual ants as they present their offerings and share in their daily rituals. These photographs work in tandem with the drawings and the video presentation creating a multisensory feast." We Rule includes the first two of four videos: We Rule and The Chosen; a selection of highly detailed, giant-size photographs from three of the four photography series entitled: Offerings, Antworks, and Antworks in Progress, and a number of pencil drawings featuring the stars of the show, the leafcutter ants. While Catherine was in attendance for her Sun Valley opening, she sat down with ConciergeQ.
ConciergeQ: It’s so interesting how you connect science and art. Tell us about that.
Catherine Chalmers: Just like a scientist, my work is actually controlled studies that can be repeatable to get the subjects to “do what they do.”
CQ: It’s amazing to watch We Rule and see how the leafcutter ants work together. What have you learned from them?
CC: I learned what it is like to be a true social species. As humans we want do everything on our own. Within the social species, there is egolessness. The leafcutter ants network together with incredible complexity without thinking of themselves as individuals.
CQ: Currently, we are in the middle of the London Summer Olympics. What you just described somehow makes me think of an elite athlete on a team.
CC: I am a figure skater. So, yes, definitely. In fact, as humans, our brains get in the way of the moment of doing it. A dog doesn’t have to think about movement. Muscle memory—it’s what animals excel at. As an athlete, especially at the Olympic level, often times you are aiming to become more animal like, whether in an individual sport, like skating, or when competing as a team.
CQ: We Work is being exhibited at Galley DeNovo in Ketchum, Idaho until September 15th. How long have you been visiting Sun Valley?
CC: There is a picture of me, I think, when I was five years old in the summer. And my mom has been coming here since she was a little girl, because her father liked to fly fish. So I have a long history here, and we first started coming on a regular basis in the winter to ski. Our family is a big skiing family and only later did we start coming in the summer.
Read Catherine Chalmers’ New York City Q&A!