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Joseph Scheer

Joseph Scheer

(b. 1958)
Born: Heidelberg, Germany

Joseph Scheer is the Professor of Print Media and the Co-Director/Founder of The Institute of Electronic Arts at Alfred University. He earned his B.F.A. from Alfred University and M.F.A and M.A. degrees from the University of New Mexico.  "His large scale works challenge notions about the intrinsic relationship between the external natural landscape and the internal psychic landscape." [1]

Scheer writes of his work:
"My artwork of the last decade has been a continuing dialog with the natural sciences. My hope is that the work explores the inherent basis of the human need for nature. This need was coined biophilia by E.O. Wilson. Wilson defines biophilia as the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living things. I believe that we live in a time in which it is highly critical to promote our respect for, and redefine the delicate relationship to, the many living things on our planet. I have chosen moths to study and create work from because of their diversity (approx. 14,000 species found in the United States) and their rich mythology in history. They are also a family of insects that most people know so little about, both visually and environmentally. A goal of my artwork is to bring this information to a diverse audience who may not normally be aware of, or come in contact with the beauty and diversity of moths.

I started with the insect pieces as collages, but I soon stripped them of that kind of formal complexity and left the insects alone, arranged on a page. Digital scanning technology allows for the examination of the insects at a very high resolution. This creates an effect of hyper-real vision where it becomes possible to see structures of the insect that the naked eye cannot discern. This process results in the making of images that have their own inherent techno-visual qualities that differs from photography. There is an incredible reality that we are now able to see that reveals the beauty along with the monstrosity of moths with all their preposterous hair and scales. Their beauty becomes a totally different kind - a sort of repulsive, disquieting beauty. These images may be of insects half a centimeter long that become 3' by 4' when enlarged and printed." [2]

 "The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York and the National Museum of China, Beijing. The Regional Museum of Kristianstad Sweden and The Field Museum, Chicago, IL, He has published two books about his work; Night Visions, the Secret Designs of Moths , published by Prestel and Night Flyers , published by Nexus Press. His work has been written about in: National Geographic , the New York Times , Flaunt, ArtNews, Science, Nature, Forbes , US Air Attache', American Photo, DER SPIEGEL, The Chronicle for Higher Education and The Ganzfield ." [3]




[1]  "Joseph Scheer >> iea" Institute for Electronic Arts. Accessed at

[2], [3] "School of Art and Design at Alfred University" Alfred University. Accessed at