For the Love of Birds!

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Michele L’Heureux, Welcome to Bird Land, 2017, Collage, screen printing, and acrylic on panel

Welcome to Bird Land: Michele L’Heureux
June 26 – October 13, 2018

 

This summer we are extremely excited to welcome artist Michele L’Heureux to the Lamont Gallery to transform our space with her interactive and immersive ode to birds in the exhibition Welcome to Bird Land.

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Michele L’Heureux, Ramble, 2016, Collage, acrylic, charcoal, block printing, watercolor, ink, and lithography on paper, mounted on board

This exhibition features drawings, collages, stuffed birds, human-sized bird costumes, and even a “Bird Salon” – an entire room devoted to bird knick-knacks complete with mid-century modern armchairs and cozy that draws visitors in and encourages them to sit and soak up the wonder. It truly is an immersive experience that even includes sound and other bird items inspired by natural history museums. The exhibition is fun and will maybe even make you rethink your relationship to birds.

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Bird Salon, Michele L’Heureux and Helen Popinchalk with items from the Lamont Gallery collection.

Artist, Michele L’Heureux visited the gallery a number of times while creating works specifically for our unique space. She worked with Curator and Director Lauren O’Neal and selected a number of bird prints from the Lamont Gallery collection that helped inspire the exhibition. Some of these prints – many by artists such as John James Audubon and Glen Krause – are on view in the Bird Salon.

Michele also created some of the pieces of this exhibition with artist collaborator Helen Popinchalk – a fellow bird lover and collector of bird items. When she and Helen arrived in June to install this amazing exhibition she put us all to work, explaining her vision and ideas for the space. Dale Atkins – one of our amazing gallery attendants – worked very closely with Michele during this installation and spent many hours devoted to this project. We knew that Dale was a lover of birds and nature but it was during this project that we learned just how much!

There were many great bonding moments over birds and sharing of bird knowledge and trivia. One fun discovery was learning about the secretary bird – one of the costumes that Michele created is a human sized version of this African bird – and watching videos of this bird hunt snakes!

 

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Michele L’Heureux, Call Me Mr. Secretary, 2018, Screen printing on paper, cut rice paper, paper maché, acrylic, masking tape, charcoal, t-shirts, leggings, sweatpants, glue, cardboard, cloth, synthetic stuffing, thread, socks

There were also some moments when Dale felt it appropriate to share her very skilled Loon call. We unfortunately, do not have video of her doing this amazing call but if you’ve never heard a loon call before you can hear it here on the Birds Inc. YouTube page.

Dale even came to the opening reception for Welcome to Bird Land proudly wearing a lovely bird mask that she adorned with hand-cut paper feathers. A true testament to her love of these feathered creatures.

Since Dale worked so closely with Michele and Helen installing this exhibition we asked her to write a little about her love of birds for this blog post. Check out her bird statement below.

–  Stacey Durand, Lamont Gallery Manager

 


 

“I hear it! Oh, I see it! There, there – to the right of the broken branch on the birch tree. See it? Oh! – It just flew away.”

Some of us are more aware of birds than others. Some of us enjoy the hunt for the spring warblers with their jewel colored mating plumage. They move quickly among the spring foliage calling to each other and we hunt them with our binoculars glued to our eyes.

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Warbler image from the American Bird Conservatory 

Birds are joyous beings in our midst, they sing, they call and we catch glimpses of them out of the corners of our eyes. They live complex lives in our wild world where they are either predator or prey.

Birds bring a vitality to our world like no other beings, they swoop and dart, they soar among the clouds and they have even become omens and harbingers of things to come. Our relationship with birds is varied and complex. Birds live in our everyday world but function in a different realm. Birds are also at great risk of extinction due to the way we treat our environment. As adaptive as they are, their numbers have been greatly diminished due to loss of habitat, marked increase in the feral cat populations and tall buildings in their paths of migration. Recent studies have revealed young birds starving to death due to ingestion of small plastic particles that fill their stomachs and cause death by starvation.

May we become more aware, more appreciative and more pro-active in our enjoyment of the birds that enrich our lives.

– Dale Atkins, Lamont Gallery Attendant

 

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