Holding her Nikon Digital SLR camera up to a spotting scope, Carol E. Richards examines a surprising array of feathery emotions akin to her own.
The use of two surfaces or buffers, sometimes three, if shot through a window, create a fascinating ring around each figure, a soft focused vignette of sorts, comparable to that of a toy camera. The result is an ambient deepening, apparent not only in the composition, but also in the subject matter and the artist’s intrigue with trailing or meditating on each flighty movement.
Salvador Dali once said, “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” On this note, Richards explores the act of bird watching as a certain mirroring, clearly exposing humanity’s inclination to anthropomorphize animals and as she asserts, “project qualities onto them that can be heartbreaking, sweet, or simply intriguing.”
Thus, in the vein of Dali’s quote, Richards shares with us her most recent collection: Birds Have Wings from Nazraeli Press.
These incredibly realistic birds are not alive – surprisingly they’re only paper models. In fact, artist Johan Scherft out of only paper, glue, and paint. He models each bird’s unique shape on his computer than constructs and paints the rest by hand. While the fold-and-glue-tabs model provides each bird with their distinctive body shape, the realism is in Scherft’s careful painting. He says of the painting, “For this part, I take the most time. With very fine brushes, I try to achieve the most realistic effect in color and detail. I use watercolors or gouache paint. It’s always an exciting moment once the template has been painted to assemble the bird and see what the result is.” [via]
The story of Meghan Howland‘s oil paintings are quiet like a secret. Her work captures understated dreamy scenes. A confusion of birds, hidden faces, a scarf that may or may not be choking its wearer – her work at once is lighthearted and hints at a darker undercurrent.
Her gallery relates, “Her paintings are often dreamlike, and yet carry a weight of something that is slightly more dissonant. The question of whether something is safe or dangerous, loving or hateful, is often unexplained in her work.”
A snapshot quality to the image, fill flash like lighting, lends the paintings the characteristic of a caught instant. However, her painterly hand stretches the moment. While definitely working a contemporary aesthetic, Howland’s paintings are at times reminiscent of Degas’ style and palette.
“On Midway Atoll, a remote cluster of islands more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent, the detritus of our mass consumption surfaces in an astonishing place: inside the stomachs of thousands of dead baby albatrosses. The nesting chicks are fed lethal quantities of plastic by their parents, who mistake the floating trash for food as they forage over the vast polluted Pacific Ocean.
For me, kneeling over their carcasses is like looking into a macabre mirror. These birds reflect back an appallingly emblematic result of the collective trance of our consumerism and runaway industrial growth. Like the albatross, we first-world humans find ourselves lacking the ability to discern anymore what is nourishing from what is toxic to our lives and our spirits. Choked to death on our waste, the mythical albatross calls upon us to recognize that our greatest challenge lies not out there, but in here.
Thomas Poulsom of Bristol, UK has a really nice flickr account full of creative creations using legos. The legos almost lend a really cool, pixelated quality to the 3-dimensional, playful works. Probably the best of the bunch are his series of birds. He’s done birds native to Britain and a tropical bird series as well. I think the reason why these come off so well is how life-like they are. Definitely not you average plastic bird. (via)
I felt like I was peering into Debra Scacco’s personal journals as I walked around her exhibit BIRDS OF PASSAGE at Marine Contemporary. Her large and small works on paper feature her solid penmanship, which she glides across the surface into geographical formations like States and Countries. “I Cannot Reach You” and “Hold Me” are just a couple of the repeated lines running throughout their corresponding paintings and although this may sound strange, there is almost a psychic connection between the viewer and the work that gives off the feeling of the syntax without actually having to read it. So, even if Debra wrote them in Itallian and I don’t speak or read Itallian, I would still be able to grasp the emotion trying to reach out for me. These are elegant and beautiful works that can take months and months to complete, especially the installation in the center of the room where she had to glue over 1000 golden pins together to form what looks like a map of all the pieces in the show combined onto one plane.