March 6 - June 19, 2016
PAUL VILLINSKI, Self Portrait, 2014, steel, birds nest, 68 x 20 x 8 inches
Katonah, NY: In a provocative display that incorporates contemporary art, relics from the natural world, and items of material culture, the forthcoming exhibition The Nest, an exhibition of art in nature, examines the exquisite beauty and profound symbolism of the nest in art and culture. Organized by the Katonah Museum of Art, the exhibition opens March 6 and remains on view through June 19, 2016 in the Beitzel and Righter Galleries. It continues the KMA’s two-season thematic cycle of environmentally focused work.
Artist and naturalist James Prosek will create a new site-specific installation in the Museum’s Atrium. Prosek’s past wall murals—featuring black and white images of numbered, silhouetted birds and other animals—have contemplated the ways in which humans attempt to order and classify the natural world. His work for the Katonah Museum of Art will incorporate wall-bound sculptural elements into the painted graphic imagery, representing a new evolution of the artist’s practice.
Investigating the ways in which birds themselves act as makers, German artist Björn Brauncollaborates with a pair of zebra finches he has raised to create nest sculptures from re-purposed materials, such as aluminum foil and colored string. Judy Pfaff’s work, Time is Another River, integrates varied materials such as honeycomb, plastic, cardboard, and foam in a human-scale, nest-like form that evokes the making methods of both organic and architectural construction.
Dove Bradshaw weaves together honey locust thorns in an accumulative strategy akin to that used by birds when making their nests. Titled Home, the work suggests the animal and human need for dwelling, and the effort to create a structure of protection. In another work, Bradshaw casts a goose eggshell in 18 karat gold, invoking the Aesop’s fable The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg—a warning against greed and the desire for immediacy.
Rather than considering tales related to the nest and its occupants, Paul Villinski explores the relationship between the nest and the physical human body. His life-size, sculptural self-portrait includes a bird’s nest settled in the figure’s belly. Additional artists (including Sharon Beals,Sanford Biggers, John Burtle, Shiela Hale, Fiona Hall, Porky Hefer, Nina Katchadourian,Louise Lawler, Hunt Slonem, Kiki Smith, Andreas Sterzing, and David Wojnarowicz among others) continue such lines of investigation into the aesthetic forms and metaphorical themes of the nest.
The Nest, an exhibition of art in nature provides an unexpected lens through which to observe the fascinating parallels between human and animal behavior, raising timely questions about the survival of the birds and their habitats in our increasingly fragile ecological world.