Birds: Estuary/Phase VII
Estuary/Phase VII: Tethered Flight
Materials: rice paper, glue, wire, fishing poles, pvc, tape
These sculptures are part of the Estuary Series, an ongoing project to create artwork and installations inspired by our local wetlands. Migratory birds are a key ingredient in a wetland habitat, and wetlands are an essential milestone in a migratory bird’s journey – often a place to feed and rest and sometimes to breed and nest. I’ve been observing the way shorebirds move, and have been drawing bird bones as a way to understand the internal structure of their ability to fly. These sculptures are not literal, but are a visceral response to the question of flight. I have created forms that will respond to the movement of wind. The wind helps them come into full expression, and they in turn reveal elements of the nature of wind patterns. We think of birds as a symbol of freedom, when in fact most birds’ lives are anything but free. They are tethered to seasons and cycles and the need for food. A migratory bird in a cage will flap frantically in a northerly direction in the spring and a southerly direction in the fall. Freedom for a bird may be freedom to follow its necessity. Fishing poles flying the bones add movement, and combined with the bones in the wind create a variable pathway of flight. The poles also tether the bones to a place. What is the tether that birds feel toward their destinations in Alaska, South America, a tiny island in the Caribbean? Do we have similar magnetic forces that draw us toward a place? What are the urges to move, to take flight, to be free, to be home?