Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bird Watching

One of the books I acquired last month was Paula McCartney's Bird Watching. It's one of the few exhibitions I saw this year where people (including me) were laughing out loud as we read the titles. The book itself represents a bird watching journal (in addition to the photographs, the entries include notes, migration patterns, a Life List as of December 2008, etc.). After the images my favorite part of this book is the State Birds list documenting where McCartney "spotted" the birds. Throughout all my time in Oregon, I never once saw a Cardinal though I wish I had.

Darius Himes states in his catalog essay: "...there are lots of real things in McCartney's images. For starters, those are really fake birds. The craft-store dummies - painted Styrofoam with dyed feathers - are out in that landscape because McCartney put them there while she was scrambling through the brush. I like that - she deserves to see a beautiful bird after doing all that work."

Why I am drawn to this work is obvious (though I didn't immediately recognize that fact until it was pointed out to me today): it's the illusion of what is real, the humor in the absurdity, and the unattainable aspect of seeing anything like this - so why not fake it? Fake birds, fake cakes... they aren't too different (at least they are both made from Styrofoam).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.