CORVIDAE

 

Gibsons Public Art Gallery, Gibsons, BC

September 12 - October 6, 2019

 

CORVIDAE: the songbird family that includes crows, ravens and magpies.

I have been observing, photographing, feeding, reading about and painting crows for years. How do they and their corvid cousins, such as ravens and magpies, see the world? Using a variety of mediums, styles and approaches, this diverse  collection of images is designed to illustrate corvid resourcefulness, cleverness and sense of humour, and provoke thought.

 

This exhibition is divided into the following elements:

Spiral Notebook

This work is from a broader series entitled Spiral Notebook, in which I explore the concept of creating harmony from chaos. I take the singular elements, shapes and patterns of the west coast landscape, add sacred symbolic imagery, and reconstruct it to create work that reflects the interconnectedness of all things.

 

The oil paintings I created for this exhibition explore the adaptability of crows to diverse environments, such as wilderness, city or seaside; the spirals signify the deeper spiritual dimension of this physical integration. Together they reflect the interconnectedness of the creature and its environment.

Paddles

 

Canoe paddles are beautifully-designed objects in themselves. As a Canadian who is passionate about the outdoors, using them as a “canvas” for paintings that reflect our environment seems a natural fit to me.

 

The three canoe paddles (painted with acrylic) each illustrate a different corvid: crow, raven and magpie.

Rotary Club

Corvids are clever communicators, as this small series of oil paintings illustrates. Using rotary dial phones and phrases we used to only hear when our telephone communication was restricted to landlines, this work is a humorous nod to our past.

Cache Value

Humans have an instinctual drive to save food and supplies for when times are lean, but in a society of plenty, rich with free, cheap and easily-attained choices, we often develop dysfunctional desires for things we don’t need. Like humans, some animals collect. Some of the most committed collectors are members of the corvid family and, like us, they occupy urban environments as successfully as rural ones. As a result, the objects and food they come across on a daily basis are extremely varied, and we often see overlap in the species. Crows, for example, like objects for many of the same reason as humans; if it’s curious, shiny and seems like it might have entertainment or status value, it’s worth investigating. The difference is that while crows will investigate and sometimes collect these objects, they don’t hoard them to the extent that humans do, mostly choosing to cache food for later.

These watercolour and pen & ink paintings of crows interacting with vintage technology/objects explores the intersection between what we value and what our neighbouring corvids value, and amplifies that fascination with consumption by using scale to comment on actual worth.