There is a general belief that we are in a new epoch, the Anthropocene: a geological age that recognizes humanity’s impact on the planet; there is no more nature that stands apart from human beings and the mass extinction in the plant and animal world appears inevitable. This is the backdrop for my work.
I make drawings from my photographs of birds in ornithology collections, where naturalists and scientists have collected, classified, and cataloged the world of birds. My work is about the contradiction inherent in our race to learn about life on the planet even as we go about systematically destroying it, about what we remember and what we lose in the process.
In my research with the collections, the life of the birds that had once inhabited the study-skins (as the bird specimens are called) is gone, the study-skins are anonymous - except for the labels tied to their legs that specify their species, the date and place of their death, and the name of the person who collected them. In the work I am currently doing, I first photograph the study-skins, draw them in pencil and then paint abstractions on the drawn bodies. The abstractions for me depict the concept of the soul, the individual life force that is so absent among the countless lifeless bodies in the drawers of the museums. The drawings are memorials, tagged with a symbolic life I have imagined for them, a turn toward the consciousness that extends beyond the physical body.