New Feature Exhibition in June May 18 2019
A Juried Exhibition
On Exhibit: June 1 - July 20, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 1, 4-7 PM
About the Exhibition
As the title of the exhibition suggests, Put a Bird on It is a satirical reference to the TV series Portlandia in which two characters working as interior décor specialists put "birds" on a variety of objects to increase their artistic merit and value. This exhibition is designed to be a fun exploration of the bird in contemporary art while also showcasing work that pushes past the notion of the bird as a trendy marketing gimmick by prompting artists to explore this subject in a range of creative ways.
The artists in this exhibition have posited this theme in a variety of ways and across a range of mediums, from mixed-media collage to jewelry. Artists such as Clermont painter Hope Barton and St. Augustine photographer Lenny Foster present realistic depictions of birds in their natural habitats, while others reference birds in more abstract terms. This can be seen in St. Augustine artist Jo Sinclair’s Birds and the Bees series, in which she has suspended bird feathers in beeswax to create a strikingly minimal composition.
Humor and whimsy can also be found in many of the pieces in this exhibition. A good example is the piece titled Bird Lady by Orlando artist Victor Bokas in which he boldly collaged the head of a bird onto the Mona Lisa and completed the look with an 18th century hairdo. He then framed the composition with patterned papers and floral embellishments for a pop of color to finish off this absurdly delightful piece, guaranteed to bring forth a smile.
Other artists chose to present birds as simplified graphic forms or outlines, as can be seen in the oil painting titled A Murder of Crows in My Bamboo by guest artist Catherine Van Lancker of New Smyrna Beach. In this piece, the composition utilizes strong vertical lines and fields of color to represent bamboo shoots that are broken up by silhouetted bird forms. St. Augustine artist Cindy Wilson also creates a strong graphic composition using batik, a wax resistant dying process, in her piece titled Soaring Kites.
Birds represented in art can carry a range of symbolic undertones as well, with interpretations that vary across time and culture. In the wall mounted bronze and wood sculpture by New Smyrna Beach’s Copper Tritscheller titled Travelers Tales, she has created a scene with dodo birds on one side, balanced against a monkey riding a burro on the other. The dodo is now extinct due to habitat destruction and hunting but has been historically stereotyped as a symbol of stupidity and blind trust. Tritschetter moves past this stereotype by placing this flightless bird in a tree, heightening its position in this imaginative scene that investigates animal relationships.
As a whole, this exhibition delivers a rare opportunity for artists and viewers alike to celebrate the beauty and contemplate the mysteries that surround our avian companions. Each artist has exemplified this theme in their own characteristic styles and methods, with high-caliber work guaranteed to stimulate the senses and bring forth a deeper appreciation for the bird, and its many representations in art.
1. Lenny Foster, The Black Swan, archival pigment photograph, 14 x 9.5 inches
2. Victor Bokas, Bad Hair Day, collage on panel, 6 x 6 x 1 inches
3. Catherine Van Lancker, A Murder of Crows in My Backyard, oil on canvas, 36 x 24 inches
4. Copper Tritscheller, A Traveler's Tale, bronze and wood, 21 x 16 x 4.5 inches
5. Cindy Wilson, Soaring Kites, batik on cotton, 24 x 45 inches