image-ink dwell art and nature
This rendering is typical of the New York-based artist who will show what she captures in a night that begins with attracting months to light. Illustration courtesy Ashley Ferlito

Ink Dwell’s website states that its goal is to make “art that explores the wonders of the natural world. Merging classical techniques of science illustration with modern fine art, we create public and private commissions, illustrations, exhibitions, and much more.”

That merging point of art and science is exemplified in the works of Ash Ferlito, a New York artist who will be featured in Ink Dwell’s first reception for a non-local artist. The opening reception will run from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, with a mothing demonstration at 9 p.m., at a location to be determined. 

Ferlito’s process starts with attracting moths with ultraviolet light onto white background. She takes a photo of the moths, then prints the image onto a transparent sheet. The sheet is laid onto a lightweight fabric, which is treated in photosensitive emulsion. When the fabric is exposed to light, the moth’s image becomes a detailed white negative while the rest of the sheet stays soaked with cyan-blue.

“So many moths have these exquisite patterns, Ferlito said. “They camouflage into the color and texture of the trees. Doing it this way, I’m able to get some of the details across, but also produce this record of this event. Each one represents a few hours that specific night.”

Each print is an accumulation of one night’s work in Ithaca, N.Y., where Ferlito spends much of her time. 

But Ferlito’s passion for the art in the natural world runs deeper than just creating the works itself. Ferlito identifies every species in front of her lens. She runs her work through iNaturalist, a contributor-driven online database meant to identify plants and animals. That way, scientists can use the data to monitor populations and migrations. With a vast network of nearly 30 million contributions, Ferlito describes iNaturalist as “Shazam for the natural world.”

“It’s an opportunity to share the local biodiversity,” Ferlito said. “I can sort of pull things out of the air you normally wouldn’t recognize and share them with people. And that’s really meaningful to me.”

Ink Dwell, founded in 2012 by Jane Kim and Thayer Walker, is located at 270 Capistrano Road, inside the Harbor Village mall. 

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