the night butterfly / 2014

Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park, Skokie IL

This sculptural piece is created in celebration of the moth.  A much-maligned insect, too often dismissed for its reputed destruction of clothing and crops; the beauty of the moth is often hidden from the public eye.

The title for this piece, “The Night Butterfly,” refers to the name of moth in many languages including French (papillon de nuit) and Finnish (yöperhonen). Approximately 2,000 species of butterflies and moths, members of the insect order Lepidoptera, are found throughout Illinois. Of this group, 150 species are butterflies and 1,850 species are moths. The moth deserves our attention.  The title alludes to its intrinsic beauty by association with the more glamorous butterfly.  Yet the moth isn’t the ugly stepsister but beautiful and beneficial in its own right, an important group economically because of its association with plants. In the caterpillar stage, butterflies and moths eat plant parts and in the adult stage they pollinate flowers. These insects are critical food resources for many birds, mammals, and other arthropods. Numerous species also play an important role as indirect indicators of habitat quality.

All creatures, even the Gypsy moth, are important to the health of our world.  Two prominent eco-activists explain this essential truth:
“Man’s attitude toward nature is critically important because we have acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature.  But man is part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself”, Rachel Carson, Silent Spring.

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”
- John Muir.


Moth: powder-coated steel, concrete, ceramic tile and glass mosaic; Leaf: welded steel.
Moth- 2′ h x 5′ w x 5′ d, Moth and leaf- 9′ h x 11′ w x 7′ d