“If the bees disappear, mankind would have only 4 more years of life.”

          – Einstein


Houston-based artist Nicola Parente combines his keen artistic vision with his concern for the earth’s delicate ecosystems in his new work entitled Colony Collapse. This site-specific installation of over 2700 recycled brown paper bags lined from floor to ceiling results in a man-made honeycomb. Parente’s creation is an intricate display of organic volume, combined with sound and projection of a bee colony inside the tiny 8x10ft space of Micro Scope 1824, an experimental art space at Spring Street Studios.

The project began buzzing on March 20th and will be on exhibit through May 2013. With this installation Parente aims to make the viewer more aware of the worldwide decline of bee colonies and open a dialogue about the importance of a pesticide-free food chain. According to Parente, “bees play a vital role in a wide variety of ecosystems as pollinators and the bee population is an important part of our evolutionary chain… I hope everyone who experiences this exhibition will walk away with an awareness and be inspired to do their part in making sure of the bee’s survival”.

Bees provide massive economic benefits to human society, both through the production of honey and, even more importantly, the pollination of a large variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and flower crops. The economic value of honeybees in the U.S. alone has been estimated at $8-12 billion. Over 3 million colonies of bees have died in the USA since 2006 and over a thousand millions of bees have died in this period in the world.

Born in Mola di Bari, Italy in 1966, Nicola Parente currently lives and works in Houston.  Working in a variety of media, he engages the viewer in dialogues of human encounter within the urban environment. Most recently, Parente was the featured artist in the Bayou Review, a literary and visual arts journal published by the University of Houston Downtown. In 2011-12, Parente had a solo museum exhibition, featuring 30 paintings, at the Manuel Felguerez Museum of Abstract Art in Zacatecas, Mexico, as well as a solo exhibition at Seranade Art House in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The artist’s work is represented in Houston by Gremillion & Co., Fine Art.

The micro scope project, an Invest in Houston venture curated by David A. Brown and Michael Crowder, is all about experimental spaces for installation-based work. The first project site, micro scope 1824, is located at Spring Street Studios -1824 Spring Street, Houston, TX 77007.  The 8×10 ft space will be the site of several more experimental installations this year from artists including Ian Anderson, Mark Masterson and Monica Vidal.

Opening Artist Reception – Saturday, April 13, 2013, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM – the microscope 1824 located at Spring Street Studios (MAP) – Viewing hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM through May 31, 2013

Press on Colony Collapse:

Keogh, Madeleine, “Artist: Nicola Parente” H-Town Art, A study of Art and Artists in Houston Texas, July 12, 2013

Deliso, Meredith, “Capsule Art Reviews: Colony Collapse”, Arts, Houston Press, May 15, 2013

Anspon, Catherine D., “Bee’s Knees”, Paper City, Home + Art Issue, Houston, May 2013

Deliso, Meredith, “Capsule Art Reviews: “Alissa Blumenthal: A Small Retropsective,” “Colony Collapse,” Eric Fischl: Cast & Drawn,” “Janice Jakielski: Constructing Solitude,” “Unwoven Light””, Houston Press, May 1, 2013

Deliso, Meredith, “Behind the Buzz at Spring Street Studios”, Visual Arts, Houston Press, April 16, 2013

Editors, “Buzz of the town: The Nicola Parente Art Opening”, The WITS Blog, April 10, 2013

Glentzer, Molly, “Colony Collapse creates big buzz in small space”, Houston Chronicle, Zest, April 7, 2013

Radley, Witney, “Sticking up for the bees: Artist painstakingly brings attention to Colony Collapse Disorder”, CultureMap, April 6, 2013