Flock - November 2018
FLOCK- Beloved, Treasured, Threatened, Dead and Extinct Birds
Artists Liza Kirwin, Penelope Gottlieb, Cindy Kane, Walter McConnell, Miranda Brandon
Cross MacKenzie Gallery is pleased to present Flock, featuring works of art related to birds by Liza Kirwin, Penelope Gottlieb, Walter McConnell, Cindy Kane and Miranda Brandon. These artists consider individual perspectives on birds but they share in our collective awe at their transcendental existence.
Our show was inspired by Liza Kirwin’s response to her obsessive need to follow the current fast changing news cycle without wasting so many hours keeping up and spiraling down. She decided to study, learn and paint the complete inventory of Maryland birds while listening to nightly episodes of MSNBC. Her 5” x 5” miniatures faithfully capture each variety from the ubiquitous Baltimore Oriole to the visiting Snowy Owl. She will present 100 paintings with annotations on the reverse documenting the latest unfolding scandal and government disaster du jour.
Penelope Gottlieb looks at our feathered friends in another context. In the artist’s thoughtful words, “Reflecting on the ignorance of this invasive human attitude, and still seeking the appropriate form for my exploration of invasive species as a subject, I arrived at the idea of appropriating Audubon’s work. I decided to “invade” some of his prints with my additions, thus blurring the boundaries between the two coexisting iterations and enacting the very exploitative process Audubon himself expounded. I took images by Audubon, which I discovered were the direct result of his literally ruinous study of nature, and I introduced invasive species into them, thereby turning the aggressive force of “nature” onto itself. The works become layered metafictions that self-consciously draw attention to both the invasive attitudes of human annexation and to the ecological crisis of invasive species - an undeniable result of human activity that itself enacts the consumption of its worst exponent: man.
It is my intention with this body of work to awaken some of the conflicting feelings that lie hidden beneath the surface of our inherent attitudes, and those inured by our inherited representations of nature and history. In this way, these altered plates seek to compel a more critical understanding of our world, and of the roles we play as artists and as people living in it.”
Cindy Kane adds to the show with mournful paintings of extinct birds and Walter McConnell, better known for his monumental stacked figurines as seen at the Freer Sackler last year, is represented by diminutive birds in delicate porcelain, offering a look into the individual elements he uses for his grand installations.
Miranda Brandon’s photographs of dead birds from her “Impact” series, are beautiful and disturbing all at once. “The beauty of the birds coupled with their abnormal postures provokes viewers to consider how humans impact the spaces we occupy. Impact is concerned with how these deaths affect the immediate communities and families of each individual bird and the morality of how we (humans) choose to live with other beings,” says Brandon.
To address how we choose to live with birds we must first make sure to protect them so they will continue to live and grace our planet. Our friends at the American Bird Conservancy and the Audubon Society need our help.