‘Birds in Art’ interview by Rob Duns at WAOW

still of artist with turkey woodcut

Click on image to watch interview.


Marla Brenner and I were interviewed at the Birds in Art opening weekend. Watch the interview!

The part Rob left out of the interview was that the turkeys that I “liberated” were actually, originally intended for Thanksgiving dinners for friends and family. I raised the turkeys to use
as models AND for meat, just as I’d done years past with the Broad Breasted Bronzes and Giant Whites. But wild turkeys can fly (which I didn’t think about ahead of time), and they had a different agenda, so I started clipping their wings once I realized they were all going to fly away.

But then, through my own  need to have beautiful models, their wings were allowed to grow out (after a clumsy, unsightly wing clipping –hey c’mon, my models were escaping one-by-one daily!– that left my models looking like strange, ungainly, flightless birds that were not exactly fit for modelling). I decided then that wild turkeys flying off to be wild kind of made sense, and I sketched and photographed the birds like crazy once their wings grew out, knowing they were going to take off any day. And then, one by one over a few days they flew over the fence to freedom. They definitely earned it! Well, they also got a long, safe-from-predators, well-fed childhood before they took off.

And it was awesome the following spring to go on jogs with the dogs, when all-of-a-sudden we’d scare up a mama turkey and her rafter/gobble/flock of tiny little poults flapping like mad to follow her up into the trees. This happened often that spring. I felt proud–like they were my grandkids or something.

Museum acquisition for “Turkey Promenade”

graphic, full-color woodcut of wild turkey, facing viewerJust got a call today from Jane from Collections at the Woodson Art Museum, and they’ve selected “Turkey Promenade” for their permanent collection. I’m just thrilled–it’s a dream come true for me.

The Birds in Art exhibit is up now through November 13, 2011.

You can read more about the exhibit, and 2 friends who are also in the exhibit, local Madison artists Clarence Cameron and Marla Brenner in this Wisconsin State Journal article.

“Turkey Promenade” and 59 other “Birds in Art” works selected to go on tour…

graphic, full-color woodcut of wild turkey, facing viewer…to Kansas, South Carolina, Michigan, Colorado, and Alaska. Full list of venues here.

The Birds in Art exhibition is currently showing at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum (the big opening weekend was last Saturday, Sept. 10th), and is on display through Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011. After that, the 59 selected will continue on to the national tour (which ends in Anchorage, Alaska, January 20, 2013). I feel very honored to have had my piece selected!

Here’s more info about Woodson Art Museum, Birds in Art and so forth:

What is Birds in Art?

(From the Woodson Art Museum):
Introduction
Since 1976, the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum has organized Birds in Art annually, seeking to present the very best contemporary artistic interpretations of birds and related subject matter. Two- and three-dimensional artworks in all media other than crafts and photography are eligible for submission. Approximately 100 works are selected by a jury review of digital images. 

As the Museum’s flagship exhibition, Birds in Art enables the Museum to meet its goals of presenting and collecting art of the natural world having birds as the primary or secondary focus. A fully illustrated, four-color catalogue accompanies each Birds in Art exhibition. Catalogues are available for purchase online.

In conjunction with Birds in Art, the Woodson Art Museum selects an artist to receive its Master Wildlife Artist Award. The award honors artists who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in using bird imagery in their artwork. The individual recognized as the Master Wildlife Artist is further honored by a mini-retrospective (approximately 10 to 12 artworks) during Birds in Art.

Each year, 60 works are selected from Birds in Art to be included in a national or international tour. This tour considerably expands the exhibition’s reach to broader audiences.

Birds in Art opens to the public on the first Saturday following Labor Day every year and is on view for nine weeks. Specific Birds in Art education programs and special events will be available online by August 15 each year.

Birds in Art 2011!

Turkey Promenade features woodcut turkey by S.V. Medaris

"Turkey Promenade", 5-color reduction woodcut, 30in x 22in

Turkey Promenade made it into Birds in Art this year.

The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum writes:
“Jurors Martha Hill (author and former Audubon picture editor), Amy Montague (director, Mass Audubon Visual Arts Center), and Jim Richerson (president, Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences) spent a productive day reviewing 957 entries submitted by 583 artists before heading into the final selection round….[which includes] 113 juried artists and past Master Artists and the 2011 Master Artist, Jim Coe….”

I fortunately picked the right art to submit for this year’s jurors. This’ll be my 3rd time (2005, 2010) at Wausau, and I feel as lucky and honored to be in this show as I did the first time.

Birds in Art 2010

Ran screaming around the house when I found out this morning via email. Dogs wagging tails, but looking concerned, until they realized I was ok. Ivan (the Pyr, the guardian of all), plunked down in my computer room to keep an eye on the situation to be sure I was alright…. I made it in Birds in Art this year. Can’t believe it. Only made it once before with On the Run in 2005, and I submit work almost every year (since 2002). Anyway, the relief-printed pull-toys made it in this time–that’s why I’m so excited–it isn’t the medium I usually submit to Birds in Art.

box with 2 pull-toy chickens

"Back in the Day, Poultry Edition" • mixed media assemblage (hand-colored relief prints, wood, acrylic, farm journals from 1800s) • 27" tall

For those who aren’t familiar with this event, Birds in Art is an international, juried show they hold every year up in Wausau (WI) at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. There really are wildlife artists from all over the world who come to the opening celebrations, so it’s a pretty amazing event. Every year, many of the Master Wildlife Artists from years past show up, so it’s really thrilling to meet them in person. Some of the Master Wildlife Artists from years past have been Carl Brenders, Robert Bateman, Guy Coheleach, Maynard Reece, and many others (including Owen Gromme in 1976–the first year). Andrea Rich was the Master Wildlife Artist in 2006, and she is one of my all-time favorite woodcut artists–really incredible work.

So, Back in the Day, Poultry Edition will be at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum for this year’s Birds in Art Exhibit, opening weekend Sept. 11, 12. Public opening on Saturday, Sept. 11, details to follow at my exhibits page.