Currently studying Illustration at university, Tara is focusing on wildlife illustration. Her passion for entomology, in particular, shines through in these painstakingly etched close-ups which visitors can enjoy this October at the woodland reserve of Gunnersbury Triangle.
The project came about when Tara volunteered at Gunnersbury this year:
“While volunteering at the Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve this summer, I was inspired to create a series of wood-burned insect portraits. I wanted my pieces to consider the hidden world of insects so I have explored a unique aspect of portraiture to offer a fresh perspective on how we perceive insect anatomy. My overall aim was to capture the beautiful intricacies of the insects we commonly see around us, as we rarely get to see them up close.”
The works are placed all around the reserve - surprises for adults to stumble across and a game for children hoping to find them all! Etched into wood, the portraits fit perfectly into their surroundings and viewing them close up reveals the textures and detail that went into them.
Rather than buying new wood, Tara recycled: “Each portrait is burned onto a piece of wood that I found in the back of my father’s garage. Rather than letting them get thrown out, I decided to create something. Although it would probably be much easier to wood-burn onto shop-bought wood, I decided not to contribute to the forestry trade. Instead, I used 'found' pieces of wood for my project, which is why each piece is slightly different and why none are particularly polished.”
A Series of Insect Faces will be at Gunnersbury Triangle until the end of October 2021. Tara’s website can be found at https://taralouisehughes.medium.com/