Fairfield University Art Museum Announces Birds of the Northeast: Gulls to Great Auks
The Fairfield University Art Museum announces an exhibition exploring environmental issues through avian art from the 19th-21st centuries.
On view January 22, 2021 to May 14, 2021.
FAIRFIELD, CT - Birds of the Northeast: Gulls to Great Auks features paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and natural history specimens from the early 19th century through the present day. Beyond merely connecting us to the natural world, the artworks in this exhibition remind us of the toll taken on bird habitats since the beginning of European colonialism in North America; the delicate ecosystems that allow birds of all species to thrive came under attack, as birds were hunted for food and ornamentation and their habitats were destroyed.
Curated by Museum Director Carey Weber and Fairfield University Biology professors Brian Walker, PhD, Jim Biardi, PhD, and Tod Osier, PhD, the exhibition complements the installation on Fairfield's campus of The Lost Bird Project by artist Todd McGrain. These monumental sculptures, created as public memorials to North American birds driven to extinction in modern times, present a chronicle of humankind's impact on our changing world and a moving record of dwindling biodiversity (on view from October 2020 to August 2021).
The "lost birds" section of Birds of the Northeast: Gulls to Great Auks features studies for McGrain's sculptures, a Great Auk skeleton lent by the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University, and paintings of lost birds by contemporary artists including Walton Ford, Ann Craven, James Prosek, Morgan Bulkeley, and Alberto Rey.
The "living birds" section of the exhibition includes specimens of a variety of common, local birds, also coming from the Peabody. Highlights include Marsden Hartley's Give Us This Day and Andrew Day Jackson's portfolio There Will Come Soft Rains, which draws from numerous sources - including old Audubon copper plates - to explore both preservation and apocalyptic destruction. Additional artworks include works by Alexander Wilson, John Gould, Emily Eveleth, James Prosek, Rick Shaefer, Carolyn Blackwood, Christy Rupp, Christina Empedocles, and Paul Villinski.