Medium of Spider Webs: Art by Michael Anthony Simon

A photo of a spider web lacquered by Michael Anthony SimonSmile 10.5.2013.17:47:57, lacquer on Nephila Clavata spider web

Michael Anthony Simon is from Chicago but relocated to South Korea in 2009. Still based in the Korean countryside, Simon has taken to the unusual medium of spider webs to form the substrate for his lacquered sculptural works.


A pair of spider webs that have been lacquered in pink and yellow huesPink and Yellow in Excited States, lacquer on Nephila Clavata spider web

While the process and idea of using spider webs in artwork is fascinating to begin with, I love that Simon’s works are also incredibly beautiful. Simon begins a spider web work by allowing a Nephila Clavata spider, native to Korea and Japan, to spin a web between a series of plastic posts on a wood plinth. Once the web is finished, the artist returns the spider to its habitat and sprays the web with numerous layers of colored lacquer.


The result is bizarre, otherworldly forms that look almost too delicate to exist, something like the works of Irby Pace. Occasionally Simon also lacquers abandoned webs that he comes across outdoors in the forest, and these works have an even more bizarre aesthetic, looking like ghostly forms that one has hallucinated after getting lost in the forest.


A lacquered spider web hung on a white gallery wallUntitled, lacquer on Nephila Clavata spider web

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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