The Intruders

Artist depicted invasive species in exhibit at the National Zoo

Let’s face it. Bugs bug most of us.

But Maggie Gourlay ’10 turned stink bugs, gypsy moths and other creepy-crawlers into works of art in her solo exhibit, “Adaptation/Migration in the Anthropocene.”

Her hand-drawn prints and installation pieces were on display during last winter’s ZooLights at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo as part of Cultural DC’s Mobile Art Gallery, a modified shipping container that has traveled throughout Washington for the past two years.

The unusual venue served as an inspiration for Gourlay, whose art for the last 10 years has focused on the overt and secretive ways places we call home exert influence over us.

“I took into consideration how and why a shipping container would suit my work,” says Gourlay, who installed shipping pallets as framing devices for her work because they transport not only goods but also pesky insects that hitch a ride, and then adapt and thrive without natural predators to keep their populations in check.

Her choice to include invasive plants—Golden Pothos and English Ivy—not only maintained the theme of climate change, but also lent a more optimistic note to the exhibit, since while they can choke out native plants, they also help remove toxins from the air.

Gourlay is an artist and part-time faculty member in the art department at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland. A semifinalist for the Janet and Walter Sondheim Prize in 2015, she has also received numerous grants and awards. She has exhibited at the Creative Alliance, Maryland Institute College of Art, Towson University and Notre Dame University of Maryland, among other venues. Through November, she will be part of the exhibit, ALLLLLL NATURAL, at School33 Art Center in Baltimore.

Reiko Gallo ’18