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Santa Barbara: The not-so-secret life of bees at Lotusland garden

February 22, 2013|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • Artist Penelope Stewart's bas-relief will cover three walls at the Ganna Walska Lotusland garden in Santa Barbara.
Artist Penelope Stewart's bas-relief will cover three walls at the… (Lotusland )

Beeswax is such stuff as artists' dreams are made on these days.

The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., will open a beeswax chamber on March 2, and now the Ganna Walska Lotusland garden in Santa Barbara opens an art exhibition Saturday that's all about bees and their hive culture.

"Swarm: A Collaboration With Bees" features a dozen artists using sculpture, photography and drawings to pay homage to the pollinator whose numbers are dwindling worldwide. The exhibition remains until May 4 at the garden that was once the private home of singer Ganna Walska of Poland.

Rose-Lynn Fisher of Los Angeles creates super-magnified photographs of bees that she compiled into a 2012 book "Bee." “When I first viewed the bee’s eye magnified, I was amazed to see a field of hexagons. I thought of honeycomb, and marveled at the similarity between the structure of the bee’s vision and structures she builds," she says in a statement about the exhibition.

Penelope Stewart of Toronto, an artist in residence at the garden, has been creating beeswax tiles and decorations for her carefully crafted bas-relief in the exhibition that will cover three walls. (You can watch her progress on Lotuslands' Facebook site.)

Visitors may see the exhibition along with a guided tour of the 37-acre botanical garden at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Admission costs $35 for adults, $10 for children 5 to 18, free for 4 and younger. Reservations are required.

There's also a special salon with Stewart at 3 p.m. Saturday at which she'll discuss her beeswax architecture, followed by a reception. Tickets cost $55 each and must be bought in advance.

Contact: Ganna Walska Lotusland, (805) 969-9990
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