Far from the sterile depictions of insects we often encounter in textbooks and laboratories, Lily Simonson's lush paintings of insect life are dramatic, sensual and dripping with paint. Her exhibition "Wet and Wild" depicts insects not just as biological critters but as living beings, as sexual and mortal as humans, if not more so.

Simonson channels figure painting's flow, abstract expressionism's flair for the dramatic and pop art's fascination with under-appreciated imagery in her surprisingly textured works. As her insects slither and writhe, bathing in intense shadows and glowing in the light, their grotesque appearances gain an entrancing, almost seductive beauty. The artist creates an insect soap opera, capturing moments of cinematic climax, full of romance, eroticism, danger and death. Just as the microscopic creatures are blown up to gargantuan scale, so are their strange urges.

Weaving art and science Simonson shows the strange beauty of a bug's biology. She depicts physical makeups so bizarre they would be difficult to conjure up in the human imagination, and yet they are real.

'Wet and Wild' will show at CB1 Gallery in Los Angeles until Sunday, July 29, 2012.

See a slideshow of the work below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Benthic Bacchanal, 2012 Oil on canvas 48" x 60"

  • Black Light Moth 1, 2012 Oil and ultraviolet pigment on canvas 18" x 18"

  • Cambrian Explosion, 2012 Oil on canvas 40" x 60"

  • Coconut Crab, 2012 Acrylic, oil and ultraviolet pigment on panel 34 1/2" x 38 1/2"

  • Kiwa puravida, 2012 Acrylic and oil on canvas 86" x 105"

  • Kiwa Rave, 2012 Oil on canvas 48" x 36

  • Like Bunnies (Sea Hare Mating Chain, 2012 Acrylic, oil and ultraviolet pigment on canvas 48" x 60"

  • Antarctic Aphrodite, 2012 Acrylic, oil and ultraviolet pigment on canvas 36" x 57"

  • Polymasthia invaginata, 2012 Acrylic, oil and ultraviolet pigment on canvas 36" x 48"

  • Roach Romance, 2011 Oil on canvas 18" x 24"

  • Yeti Crab Volcano, 2012 Oil on canvas 60" x 36

Also on HuffPost: