When artist Rose-Lynn Fisher found a lifeless bee on her windowsill, she brought it to the lab of her friend. They coated “Beatrice” in gold to provide a more conductive surface for the powerful beams of the scanning electron microscope and to enhance image quality. After zooming in on the bee’s eye, Fisher was astonished to discover the same hexagonal pattern as honeycomb—a bee’s vision corresponds to the wax structures a bee builds.
“Is this a coincidence or a clue?” Fisher asks in her book, Bee, the culmination of a 17-year project. While entomologists told her that hexagons are nature’s most efficient way to pack circles, for the artist, this connection spoke to a more symbolic idea: that vision and action have similar metaphorical parallels in human beings.
Fisher explored from the bee’s knees to its bee-hind, at 14x to 3300x magnification. “The closer and closer you go, it reveals more and more complexity and beauty,” she says. “The forms and patterns seem endless, revealing a level of intricacy that is unimaginable to our normal perception. But, when you think about it, this is what exists throughout nature. It’s truly miraculous.”
All 60 images from Fisher’s book landed in a hive-shaped exhibit at the Monte L. Bean Life Sciences Museum from Oct. 21, 2010, through January 2011. | Courtesy of Rose-Lynn Fisher/Princeton Architectural Press
View a slideshow of images at more.byu.edu/beeyond.