In celebration of Women’s History Month, March Object of the Day posts highlight women designers in the collection.

Here is a simple wallpaper pattern, a repeating design of insect wings, that I find amusing. You know, those pesky things you might find on your window sill or picnic table during the summer months, that you just brush off or suck up with the vacuum without thinking twice about it. For this design Perry has taken hundreds of nearly identical insect wings, though I haven’t actually counted, and haphazardly arranged and overlapped them on this icy blue background and makes them into something beautiful. You kind of stop seeing them as the remains of a bygone insect and start noticing the delicate lacy effect and somewhat honeycomb patterning of the little cells. And of course, from a distance it just creates a pleasing textural effect. It is rather unusual for a wallpaper pattern to be composed solely of insects, or in this case, insect parts, but it does happen. Quite often to wonderful effect.

Perry is a west coast-based artist who has been exhibiting her sculptures since 1983. She frequently employs this use of multiples or the repetition of things to create her works. Among my favorites are the gorillas constructed of recycled truck tires salvaged from alongside the California freeways. She has also played around with insect wings in earlier works, and here she identifies very similar looking wings as being from a cicada.

Gorilla Route 66 , 1990, by Sarah Perry

Bitter Rain, 1997, by Sarah Perry

She is also the author and illustrator of a children’s book titled If…, published by the J. Paul Getty Museum and Children’s Library Press.


Greg Herringshaw is the Assistant Curator in the Wallcoverings Department

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