A large number of people or things that are sometimes in flight and sometimes invading spaces, a swarm can be breathtaking and wondrous, but it can also be ominous and anxiety-inducing. The Moss Arts Center’s newest exhibitions are inspired by those things that converge to occupy, invade, or even dominate available spaces.

The exhibitions “SWARM” and “Multiply” will open with a reception on Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 5-7 p.m. in the Grand Lobby of the Moss Arts Center, located at 190 Alumni Mall.

Presented in the Miles C. Horton Jr. Gallery, Sherwood Payne Quillen ’71 Reception Gallery, and Francis T. Eck Exhibition Corridor, “SWARM” features a selection of digital, sculptural, and site-specific art works that portray the delightful and sometimes unnerving imagery of objects and beings en masse, in flight, and all around.

“SWARM” exhibition

This exhibition features five artists’ creative explorations of the concept of a swarm. Ranging from mesmerizing and confounding zoological phenomena to suspicious but delightful mechanical whimsy, the works allude to the scalability and ubiquity of swarms and swarm intelligence, as well as the behaviors and mechanisms that can affect all forms and aspects of life.

While the subject matter changes from biological, or nature-made, to mechanical, or human-made, all of the featured works allude to geometry, social and spatial interaction, data gathering and utilization, decentralized systems, interconnectedness, surveillance, and survival through brutal efficiency and sheer numbers.

The artists featured in “SWARM” include:

Talia Greene, a multimedia artist who works primarily with photo-based digital printing and drawing. Greene lives in Philadelphia and works as an assistant adjunct professor at University of the Arts.

Don Maynard lives and works in Kingston, Ontario, and his art practice includes painting, sculpture, and multi-media installations. Maynard is represented by Newzones Gallery in Calgary, Alberta, and Sears-Peyton Gallery, New York, New York.

German sculptor Björn Schülke playfully transforms live spatial energy into active responses using solar panels, infrared surveillance, and propelled wind power. Schülke lives and works in Cologne, Germany.

Leah Sobsey works in 19th-century photographic processes combined with digital technology. She lives in North Carolina and is assistant professor of photography at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Marina Zurkow is a media artist focused on near-impossible nature and culture intersections, researching “wicked problems” like invasive species, superfund sites, and petroleum.

“SWARM” is curated by Meggin Hicklin, Moss Arts Center exhibitions program manager.

“Multiply” exhibition

The center’s Ruth C. Horton Gallery will feature a one-of-a-kind art installation created collaboratively by community members. People of all ages and abilities are invited to contribute to “Multiply,” an exhibition that allows participants to help proliferate thousands of hexagons — one of nature and geometry’s essential forms and structures — throughout the entire gallery space. The transformation process begins on Thursday, Oct. 18, and people can continue to contribute to the piece until the exhibition closes on Saturday, Dec. 15.

The “Multiply” exhibition is supported in part by a gift from Dr. Charles Y. Davis and Mrs. Carole C. Davis.

The Moss Arts Center’s galleries and all related events are free and open to the public. The galleries are regularly open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or email kacy@vt.edu during regular business hours.