On the wing ……….the Grey Fantail

Birds in Gardens Exhibition

In preparing for our “Birds in Gardens” exhibition the mind goes to which artists should be chosen. One also thinks about colour and vibrancy as well as our birds in nature so not just a literal representation.

Having recently read The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley with a focus on the life of John and Elizabeth Gould coming from England and spending two years in Tasmania scientifically documenting, and in Elizabeth’s case drawing and painting the previously undocumented species in the state, I was inspired by their commitment and their life long interest travelling the world, leaving children back in England and exploring to satisfy their career. How hard life was, but exciting in what they saw and what engaged them and the beauty of bird life left them quite spellbound. There is much talk of plumage colours and bird forms, beaks, legs etc throughout the publication.

Whilst not expecting the artists in the Blenheim Gallery exhibition to fit a more representational or conservative form of a bird necessarily as the show is a contemporary exhibition, it will hark to those who have gone before us including John and Elizabeth Gould.

Artists seek inspiration not only from their peers but artistic reference points and usually there is the concept of nature and colour in some form as it is all around us.

One visualises the colourful blue wrens in Tasmania, the Grey Fantail, the Green Parrots and Honeyeaters and of course the Yellow Wattle Birds. In Gould’s case the species of birds in New Guinea, South America and the British Isles were all fodder for their artistic and scientific pursuit as well as Australia in their collection “Birds of Australia”.

The brilliant plumage in itself can be striking, but so too the flight and sweep of majestic birds through the bush and rural lands or just a wren sitting on a window ledge.

So in coming back to the artists for the exhibition, apart from John Gould more contemporary artists will be included in the exhibition. Magic colour and the orchestration of colour, which sings the joys of life. The referencing to early explorers, the land and seabirds, their form with colour springing from life embracing nature.

In the coming month a list of artists will be provided of those included in the exhibition and it is hoped that everyone will enjoy the works and what the exhibition brings forward given the show is aligned to Blooming Tasmania’s Flower and Garden Festival and the Bird Trails throughout the state being held at galleries and talks in private gardens.