Birds of Play

Birds of Play 2009
Documentation of  “Birds of Play” in the Butzel Gallery at John Sayles School of Fine Art

A series of solarplate etchings incorporating monoprinting and mixed media

A child on a creaking swing set finds companionship in the ever so familiar sight of a red-breasted Robin. A man bats a broom at the starlings who have taken over the bird feeder that once belonged to his beloved Bluebirds. A runner is stopped in her tracks and a pilot circles the now goose laden runway. The Carolina Wren has become a common site while the bank swallow gives way to a man made shoreline. The Cedar Waxing continues its dance among the berries and the hunter’s rifle keeps its bullets for the landscape that has fenced off the Pheasants. These are no birds of prey. These are just a few of hundreds of birds breeding and living with us in the Capital Region of NYS. The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State can fill you in on the details if you so desire.

A few months ago some birds made their way into one of my doodles (sketches) flying out of a smoke stack. They seemed a fitting symbol for my desire to create images reflecting places where contrasting environments intertwine. I have been catching site of them in my peripheral vision: drifting, flitting, falling and soaring between man made and natural environments. Some thriving in our structures so well that they have been given the not-so-endearing nickname; “pest.” Others fading into an existence romanticized in poems and paintings. But these images are not necessarily intended to make a statement about a particular bird’s growth or decline. For me, they are an intimate piece of awareness about our affect on them and theirs on us. In a sense they are a reflection of my – our – mankind’s relationship with our surroundings through the birds we sometimes notice, admire, and pass by. This is a Rachel Carson inspired endeavor.