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insectarium: a place in which a collection of living insects is kept, as in a zoo.


Natalie McIntyre’s work is mainly concerned with the symbolic and aesthetic value of insects. She is inspired by their limitless diversity in terms of their shape, colour and texture, studying their physiognomy at close range and making them appear both monstrous and beautiful.

She graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art with an MFA in Fine Art Media in 1999 and this is where her fascination with insects began, documenting them through photography and printmaking.


She has explored this subject matter in many ways over the past twenty years, initially employing the traditions of natural history illustration and the scientific illustration of insects. Her Insect Portrait series were executed in pen and drawn from her own and found electron micrographs of insect faces. These macro portraits depict the detail of compound eyes and mandibles whilst also having an anthropomorphic feel as the bugs appear to be posing for their portraits. 


In 2020, during the first UK lockdown, she started to work in relief linocut printing, which has led to a new body of work that celebrates colour and precision using the reduction linocut method. She has brought her attention to detail and love for her subject matter to this process and her recent work is a celebration of insects portrayed in colourful ink.


Beyond insects she is fascinated in a wider range of zoological specimens and with the way in which museums classify and display their collections. She is also interested in botanical and medical vintage illustrations which she has been using to inspire new work.

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