NEW YORK, NY.- Bernarducci Meisel Gallery
presents a group exhibition entitled Birds featuring over a dozen leading contemporary artists curated by Marina T. Schindler. The various symbolic associations of a bird are ingrained in our society; a dove for peace, a phoenix for rebirth, a vulture for death, an owl for wisdom. In this exhibition each work of art has a unique signifier, always a bird, which evokes a unique symbolic association.
Untitled (for Sylvia) (2014), the next in the series of wallpaper drawings done by Alex McQuilkin, examines the role that decorative ornamentation plays in the development of identity. Meticulously labored renderings of Laura Ashley wallpaper invite viewers to interact with these insidious decorative patterns as more than just background elements, and consider what they symbolize, and the effect they have on us. A photograph of a small deceased bird floats upon a pattern of hand-drawn Amethyst Peonies. The photographic element thus becomes trapped within a field of floral repetitions. Both subjects, the bird and the flowers, are things that should be full of life and movement, and here they are held still.
In contrast, David Eichenbergs Birdie with Duck (2014), is portrait of the artists daughter whom he affectionately calls Birdie. She is portrayed in a traditional three quarter stance, above the elbows, similar to Bronzinos Portrait of a Young Girl with a Prayer Book (ca. 1545). Eichenbergs daughter holds a small, fluffy, yellow duck. She is dressed in an elaborately embroidered beaded black and white dress, with a black beaded necklace. Seated before a background of a light blue velvet damask curtain, the young girls nail polish is peeling and some of her hairs are out of place, adding girlish charm to her austere gaze. Here the young duck is paralleled with the young girl alluding to her gracefully growing into a beautiful swan. Eichenberg is the 2010 BP Portrait Award Winner and the 2012 Winner of the Realism Biennial.
Carsten Höllers series of 10 photogravures entitled Birds (2006) depicts hybrid songbirds that were crossbred by the artist himself. Höller holds a doctorate from the University of Kiel in agricultural science and is also a keen ornithologist. The birds in these series, bred and raised by the artist, are the first and last of their kind. Höller is capturing their transient existence in their rather conceptual yet scientific series. In 2011, the New Museum hosted a retrospective for the artist.
Also on view will be paintings by Ernesto Caviano, Kristen Deirup, Sarah Kurz and Anthony Lister. Mixed media works by Jeanette Hayes, Cassandra MacLeod, Alyson Shotz, and Yelena Yemchuck. Photographs by Simen Johan and Caitlin Teal Price, as well as an installation by Tracey Goodman.