07/29/2012 04:04 am ET Updated Jul 29, 2012

Lily Simonson's 'Wet And Wild' Insect Soap Operas Hit CB1 Gallery (PHOTOS)

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.

Lily Somonson