Armatures of Audubon: Contemporary Constructions and Ecologies
Kentucky School of Art Gallery, Louisville, KY
September 4 - November 3, 2014
When John James Audubon sought to create a comprehensive document of all birds in North America, he generated life-size interpretations of species to sell to subscribers. A self-taught natural historian, musician, outdoorsman, and the first person to band birds, Audubon’s identity was split between that of a showman and scientist, and he manipulated and posed his avian subjects to captivate an audience.
The desire to depict “true” nature is complex, and related efforts and failures have become rich material for contemporary artists as they construct their own worlds. In Armatures of Audubon: Contemporary Constructions and Ecologies, artists appropriate visual languages associated with 19th century natural history, botanical illustrations, and landscape paintings, propose alternate relationships between objects from daily life and observation, and translate complex histories through a personal lens.