With the colony protective of their singular queen, aggressive foraging groups of sterile female workers and enormously-sized soldiers simultaneously and predatorily conduct raids for resources, while a sexual brood of winged males attends to their blind, egg-laying monarch’s needs. While this might sound like the premise of a fantastical tale, it is actually an apt description of the day-to-day life of army ants, insects that have been the focal creature in countless works of fiction. In fact, one such occurrence is Ronzo‘s recent Ants in the Ends sculptures, works inspired by his illustrations for the Del the Funky Homosapien penned fable “Watch How You Talk To People“.

A Brief History of “Watch How You Talk To People”

Originally published as part of 2017’s Stories for Ways & Means collection, a project of illustrated stories that partnered lyrically-oriented musicians with contemporary artists, “Watch How You Talk To People” involves a colony of army ants that inhabit a girder-filled alleyway. One mid-day, a passing by anteater trips over the steel beams, causing the ants’ precarious structure to collapse while knocking himself unconscious in the process. Awakening hours later, the anteater is immediately inundated by demands from the ants, who are insistent that the beast rebuilds their construction without hesitation. Still discombobulated from the accident, the anteater tries to be accommodating and polite to the six-legged terrors, though they start aggressively brandishing unlit matches at him. And while the situation ultimately ends direly for the ants, Ronzo has resurrected them as the inspiration behind his Ants in the Ends sculptures.

Ronzo’s Ants in the Ends

Adorned in combat helmets, their massive antennae poking through the tops, Ronzo’s Ants in the Ends emphasizes the aggressive nature of the army ants through cartoonishly fang-like mandibles and angrily slanted eyes. With these aspects reminiscent of the vilified World War 2-era caricatures of Japanese soldiers, the artist has created unsympathetic effigies of these antagonistic ants. Each carefully constructed by the artist out of plastic, carbon fibers, and aluminum with spray-painted coloration, this debut #SFWAM Edition encompasses two renditions, the appropriately named Ant and Ant, with Matches versions. And to further harken back to their origin tale, each sculpture comes with a small section of a girder to be used as a mini metal base, a truly fitting touch given how important those steel beams were to the ants in the end.
Ronzo’s Ants in the Ends pieces are part of the Stories for Ways and Means (or SFWAM) exhibition, which was curated by Waxploitation‘s Jeff Antebi & Corey Helford Gallery‘s Special Projects Curator, Caro Buermann. With the proceeds from the exhibition being donated to the War Child charity, this group showcase had its opening reception on Saturday, June 23rd from 7-11pm and all works will remain on display until July 21st, 2018 at the gallery’s physical location (571 S Anderson Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033).

View the gallery’s dedicated page for the exhibition

For more information on Ronzo:
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