BECOMING A BIRD
Woman Riding an Egret
24”x16”x16” Steel, wire mesh
By Sarah Haviland
Becoming a Bird
April 18 - June 6, 2020
Curated by Bibiana Huang Matheis
Real birds combine with mythical stories in my recent sculptures, drawings, and installations. The artworks reflect human-avian connections in cultures around the world as well as contemporary societal issues. Using simple materials and flights of fancy, they call attention to endangered species, migration of birds and humans, and our own psychic condition.
These recent small works emerged from 2018-2019 when I spent five months as a U.S. Fulbright scholar in Taiwan, teaching and researching my human-bird theme in traditional and contemporary culture. My research included firsthand image-gathering along with cross-disciplinary conversations with anthropologists, curators, religious scholars, bird-watchers, and environmental artists. The images and stories I continue to gather form a collection that I’m sharing in mixed-media artworks and installations, workshops, talks, and writings such as my Fulbright blog, www.becomingabird.com.
My fascination with bird-figures began with the kinesthetic experience of gesture and observation of people and birds, alone and in relationship. Further inspired by stories and images from many cultures, my works speak of human aspirations and the soul, and of conflicts between our internal impulses and awareness of the outside world. From ancient winged deities to the flying heroines and villains of popular culture, such icons affirm our desire to reach beyond the human realm.
My images here feature specific birds and hybrid human-avians as well as mythic figures. In these bird-inspired sculptures, I use common hardware-store metal mesh and wire, as well as colorful recycled materials such as found papers and plastics. With tinsnips and pliers, and techniques borrowed from sewing, metalwork, and papercraft, I turn these everyday materials into delicate, volumetric drawings in space. Through my investigations into the marvel of birds and their influence on human culture, I seek to recall our ancient connection to birds—still present and necessary today.
ARTIST RECEPTION - POSTPONED
Exhibit is open during museum hours:
Wednesday - Saturday, 12 to 4 pm