Butterflies, beetles, seashells, and orchids abound at this gallery in Salem, Ore.
Are they real? That’s the question visitors usually ask when they ﬁrst encounter Christopher Marley’s compositions at Pheromone, his new gallery in Salem, Ore.
Very much so, he insists. Gemlike beetles, paper-thin butterﬂies, pristinely preserved carnivorous plants and orchids, bright-hued seashells, brittle-winged moths—Marley transforms them all into startling displays of likeness and variation in the natural world.
Long a darling among decorators of posh retail spaces in New York and Los Angeles, Marley worked for 15 years in the fashion industry before turning to his uncommon medium. He recently moved back to Oregon’s capital, where he grew up. From there he works with contacts among indigenous peoples around the world to gather material, avoiding threatened or rare species. He mounts his ﬁnds in crisp, shadow box frames, turning what once might have inspired the heebie-jeebies into exciting tableaux. “I’m just a storyteller,” Marley says. “I feel like I’m working in concert with the great designer.” (503) 385-1786, pheromonegallery.com .
Photography by Don Frank
This article was first published in January 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.