Feathering the Nest for Birds in Art 2010

By: Andrew McGivern, curator of exhibitions on August 12th, 2010

August is nearly half over and summer is beginning to wane. “Back to School” sales are ramping up and my wife and I are disappointed to hear fewer backyard birds singing in the morning. Although songbirds migrate early, we are seeing a dramatic increase in bird sightings at the Woodson Art Museum.

The migration of artwork for the 2010 Birds in Art exhibition is nearly complete. Over the past few weeks, I’ve unpacked drawings, paintings, and sculptures as we prepare them for installation and our opening on September 11. Birds in Art celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, and the artists have offered some outstanding work in honor of this momentous occasion.

Many of our old friends are back and, as typical of past exhibitions, lots of new artists have entered the fold, adding to the diversity of artistic styles. Among the new artists is Debbie Stevens of Cypress, Texas. Her 36 by 48-inch oil painting features a pair of red-crowned cranes, wading through a stream with multicolored reflections that invite the eye to dance across the plane of the painting.

Manisha Padhye of Pune, Maharastra, India, is included for the first time in Birds in Art with a wonderful watercolor of an Asian paradise-flycatcher. With its long white tail feathers, the bird is shown perching among branches, a perfect opportunity for the artist to show her mastery of thin transparent washes.

Craig Kosak of Seattle, Washington, is another newcomer. His 30 by 50-inch oil on canvas offers a graphic presentation of two ravens standing on a black platform, each holding a string with a plumb bob. A background of white billowing clouds is intersected by straight lines, planes, and bands of color along the edges.

Artworks by new artists and old friends abound in this year’s Birds in Art exhibition. As fall progresses and our feathered friends migrate to warmer weather, it’s comforting to know that all I have to do is step into the galleries to see inspirational artworks and birds, too!

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