Traditionally, fishing flies are made of organic materials such as feathers and fur, and are designed to mimic a specific insect at a particular stage of its life. In the effort to target larger fish, they are used to mimic baitfish and even mice. In most cases, the fly does not need to be a copy, true in all bodily detail. A simulacrum will typically suffice, and for the class of flies called “attractors,” a combination of sufficiently “buggy” characteristics will do.
My Attractors take the fishing fly as a paradigm object and portray strange, insect-like creatures. They play homage to the incredible diversity of insect life, which we typically regard as an inconvenience at best. While their kind is said to represent 90 percent of the diversity of life on our planet, our kind typically ignores them. They embody my appreciation of the small things in life and in art.
Jerry Monteith is a Professor Emeritus at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. In 1978, he received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He currently resides in Cobden, Illinois.