C o n s i d e r i n g  H o w  W e  A r e

The Wood Stork

The Wood Stork was a central image for the 2017 show A Wing & A Prayer. The show was constructed as my wife Anne's gallery hung paintings and my installation consisting of two rooms, The White Room and the Black Room. The show examined the relationship of viewer to a work of art. In traditional viewing, the gallery caters to the needs and whims of the viewer. The room is attractive and appealing for the viewer; the art is hung in such a manner to be pleasing and easily seen by the viewer. In that relationship we could say the object of art is subservient to the viewer. The viewer might feel in control, dominant and superior to the art object. In the White Room, the art objects were not ideally hung for the viewer. The viewer had to be careful negotiating the art hanging on rough string from a rectangular frame metal comprising the walls including interior walls of the White Room. It was easy to bump into the art. One had to duck under some art objects, squeeze by others. The viewer had some difficulty moving back far enough to take in the art object ideally. The curiosity of the show was to see if that relationship, where the art object dictated to the viewer how to behave, had any shift in how the viewer understood the subject of the art.  If the viewer had to pay more attention to the art object, defer to it, then perhaps the viewer would pay more attention to the subject of the art, inspect it more and reflect more, even give it more status and credibility for the viewer did not feel superior to the art or in control of the viewing. The hanging suited the art not the viewer. The viewer defers to the art or walks away. Typically, a viewer in a gallery spends seconds looking at a work, one research study suggesting viewers spent twice as long reading the label as looking at the art. 

This piece, The Wood Stork, was the only work in the Black Room. The viewer entered a small black room, limited to one viewer at a time. Only the image was lit. The idea was to create a kind of temple space where the viewer was all alone in the presence of the art object. The viewer left the black room by a different way than coming in. Would it be that the viewer comes into the presence of the art object, think more about the art object and perhaps the subject of the art than oneself, and leave by a different portal than arriving, by any chance a different person.

And so the heritage of this print is that of a contemplative piece, a piece of honour, to be contemplated over time, with respect, asking of it what it can tell, what it knows the world  we need to know.

Wood Stork Flying

To see less detail of the stork, but its outline, is to see it differently. We see it's shape in space. Not so much what the bird looks like but what its movement looks like, the space it takes up. Its form. Its presence.

Wood Stork Free Falling

Seeing a minimum of the stork's appearance, but its simple form, is to see more perhaps. To see Stork not as object but as personality. To see its personality in the shape of its body movement. To see it endearingly. To enjoy its personality that the form suggests. I laugh with my new friend.

Gull #2

The shape of the gull is something of its movement. We see it flying, but all the shapes it makes flying we don't see.

Gull #1

The gull can fly, up there, unlike us.

Anhinga #1

She sits on the edge of our world, peering into it and on her world, just beyond our gaze, sits there knowing what she knows, looking through the frame to see us, observe our behaviour, wondering, concerned by what she sees, knowing what she knows.

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