PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Nest and Branch exhibition features artwork that explores the realities and mysteries of birds. The nine artists featured in Nest and Branch have created artwork that draws our attention to the natural world, bridging the gap between nature and culture. Their work reminds the viewer to look again, and look more closely, both at their art and at the creatures that inspire it. Taken as a whole, the exhibition invites us to consider our human relationship with birds as both a metaphor for larger societal and environmental issues, as well as a very real relationship requiring care and stewardship.
Golden-Winged Warbler and Evening Grosbeck
Art making for me is a place where my emotions and my intellect meet. I am troubled by the decay and destruction of our environment and the terrible loss we suffer by our complicity in the extraction of our natural resources. I have been using the image of a birds nest to comment on this degradation to our land and water. My drawings are of the empty nests of specific bird species that are endangered and threatened. Each is isolated in its vanishing environment to emphasize a sense of loss. By mimicking the act of nest building through the repetitive action of the pencil on paper, it becomes a meditative practice as well as an investigation of the structural component of these organic shapes.
Messenger is a series of prints about the experience of wonder I have encountered in the natural world, in particular, with birds. The birds presented in this series, a barred owl, northern flicker, and pileated woodpecker,are messengers, urging us to stop what we are doing and pay attention to the world around us. Each bird is composed as an extreme close-up, allowing the viewer no choice but to engage with the image. This larger-than-life format gives presence to the experiences I have had with these birds; they cannot be dismissed as small or insignificant events.
Don't Go Go Away and Once Upon A Time
In the past years my work has been directed towards photographic manipulated imagery. This work incorporates layers of textural and organic imagery that draws upon my interest in decaying architecture, nature and the Mid-Western landscape in which I live. This imagery, rich in personally derived symbolism, is organized into mystical and mysterious landscapes. It is my hope that the viewer can relate to the work on a subconscious or emotional level. While the stories created in the work are not explicit, I incorporate symbols that, like signposts, encourage the viewer to navigate the implied narratives in their own way, based on their own personal experience.
A Delicate Pattern and a Flutter By
The flat graphic patterning in this piece is floral and organic yet ordered, it reflects the synthetic while the hummingbird is naturalistically painted and mimics its true derivation. Much of the artwork that I create is based on nature and the role it plays in my own life as well as its interaction with the built environment. Birds, commonly birds in urban areas, are often a focal point in my work because of the role that they play as the metaphorical canary for damage to the environment through climate change; noise, light and waste pollution, and other harmful factors. The graphic elements in my work allow for a more controlled and organized representation of our built society while the organic and natural elements - which often embrace texture and spontaneity - stand for an uncontrollable force of nature that really inspires the work.
My recent work documents my experience of the intersection of science and nature and the ideologies that frame our cultural understanding of the natural world and animals. I explore the relationship people have on a daily basis with animals whether they are wild or domestic and see my paintings, drawings, and prints as a diagram of these narratives. In the paintings and prints, animals serve as representations of nature and as metaphors for human desires that ultimately separate us from the natural world. The cut paper installation, Twice : Migration, refers to the visual phenomenon of groups of birds moving as one in flight and to various scientific and literary descriptions of migration. The use of paper and the multiple creates a visual statement that evokes the power and beauty of the birds and also the increasing vulnerability and decline of many migrating bird species.
Mara Adamitz Scrupe
I am a trans-disciplinary artist working at the juncture where art, technology and science coalesce. I experiment with hybrid media to explore the poetics and interactive social dynamics of nature, technology and community. My focus on art as experience has led me to create environments that encourage multi-sensory explorations by participants rather than viewers. My art practice explores empathy and the social dynamics of hope by developing ideas about kinship with one another, with other life forms, and with all kinds of natural environments whether urban, rural or wild. My work focuses on intensive research of social, political and environmental histories that guide and transform our sense of place while closely examining the social and spiritual mores that inform contemporary views of nature, technology and community.
Rare Winter Visitors
Black-capped chickadees are lovely and handsome little birds. Their complex vocalization is distinctive and ear catching, and they are common across the country. As an artist, I like to take notice of nature in its repeating forms and seasonal patterns: geometric overlapping of tree branches, and the familiarity of these small birds again and again, in different places. The hand screen-printed organza panels overlap one another, allowing the translucency of the silk to show the images hidden behind, creating interesting new patterns. I am fascinated with what happens when simple¬¬ images overlay one another, both in the layering of the panels themselves, and when I print translucent images on top of one another. The pigment from the overlapping ink creates new tones and colors and new abstract shapes.
the nesting habits of extinct & vanishing birds
Although we no longer live there, the past is all around us; it gives shape to the present. The print series the nesting habits of extinct & vanishing birds uses found text and images as building materials to weave new stories out of found materials from the past. Reminiscent of wallpaper, the images draw the viewer into a world of seeming innocence, where quaint birds printed on snippets of childrens books from the 1950s perch above nests that evoke feelings of childhood. Yet these images are not as mild as they initially appear. The birds have long since gone extinct and the text,isolated from its original context,reads as foolishly antiquated, its hopeful tone transformed into a relic of the past. Here the image of the nest is revealed for what it isnt; a secure shelter but an unstable mass of leaves and twigs.
The Migratory Books Project/Projector Libros Migratorios
I examine historical and ecological links through intersecting narratives, language, structure, space, and sequence. By enabling my viewers to make associations between themselves and the issues that I explore, I hope to encourage social and environmental change. The importance of narrative and my interest in activism has led some of my work to involve interactivity. Typically, this interactivity manifests in artist books, installations, and performance. For some of my work, it is necessary for viewers to activate the work by reading the book or participating in the performative elements for the work to be fully complete. Though the use of narrative, I aim to capture the moments when history transcends into myth, and the defining moments of epiphany, allowing previously unconsidered connections come to light.