I just finished a small series of paintings on cigar boxes. Typically, I hate to explain my work. I like for my work to remain ambiguous, allowing for the viewer to bring their own meaning to each piece. This series, however, revolves around a common theme, so I wanted to actually take a minute to write a bit about them. This series features women interacting with small birds, which on the surface may seem rather straightforward, I wanted to give you some background on some of the ideas I had while working on this collection in order to help put it in context.
Birds in mythology are often spiritual messengers and are associated with the soul. The birds are there to bring a message of comfort, hope and cheer. Perhaps, the nurturing of something more delicate than one’s self helps in the healing of wounds inflicted by the callousness of the world. I also associate small birds with the health of the environment. When miners would dig in the earth, they would bring small songbirds with them. These fragile birds, being more sensitive to toxins in the air, would be the first indicator of poisonous fumes that could be released through careless mining. If the bird died, the miners would know that they had to reach the surface quickly or suffer the same fate. Even in our modern day world, the first signs of the declining health of the ecosystem can be seen in the death of the smallest of these animals.
The girls in these paintings at first seem to be wounded. Battered and a bit worn down. The presence of the birds, however, points at the resilience of these women. There is a sense of comfort and peace that accompanies them, and in some cases the bird represent a defiance in the face of adversity. Like the canary in the mine, the healthy presence of these birds indicates the continued survival of the subject of the painting. More importantly, the birds bring with them a message of hope; even though they may be damaged on the outside, the core of their self endures.
If you are interested in any of the pieces in this series, contact Sandra at Cactus Gallery : http://cactusgallery.blogspot.com/
Thanks for looking!