TITLE OF EXHIBITION
Birds of a Feather
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The inspiration for this body of work came when on more than one occasion, artist Lisl Barry mistook the flight of plastic bags high in the sky for birds.
Although captivatingly beautiful in their dance, the realisation that they were actually plastic bags brought home to her once again the impact that humans have on the environment. It goes deep and wide. And how seemingly oblivious we appear to be of our role in it. We are part of nature. Yet often we behave as if we are something apart. Something separate.
These paintings are a visual interplay between flocks of birds and flocks of plastic, hoping to probe questions of how we view our individual role in elbowing nature aside through our lifestyle choices.
CatalogueClick on any image to enlarge.
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Blues50 x 80 x 4.5 cmOil on canvasR 7 200
While some of these exhibition pieces, as a self-reflection on our impact on nature, are a play on bags and birds (which are birds, which are bags and which would you rather experience?), other pieces are simply a celebration of birds in their natural environment.
As they should be. Unhindered, clean, and free.
A taste for life50 x 80 x 4.5 cmOil on canvasR 7 200
These white-fronted plovers are masters of disguise in their natural beach habitat. Their speckled eggs are perfectly camouflaged to hoodwink the sharpest of eye and they will run at great speed on their spindly legs to attract a would-be predator away from their eggs or chicks. All one sees of the parent is rapid movement. The art of distraction.
Coca-Cola once advertised that “Coke adds life”. Their plastic waste in these natural settings makes this claim ring hollow.
Bird or bag70 x 110 x 4.5 cmOil on canvasR 16 250
This piece is a twisted visual play on Escher’s bird and fish series, Sky and Water.
The negative spaces to the left of the painting which mirror the (positive) birds in flight, are formed from airborne, plastic, “on sale” shopping bags. An ironic statement on one of our greatest achievement as mass consumers.
Dove Tale110 x 178 x 4.5 cm Oil on canvasR 32 500
As they should be. Unhindered and free.
Feathered gyre70 x 110 x 4.5 cmOil on canvasR 16 250
Gyres are large systems of circular ocean currents formed by global wind patterns and forces created by earth’s rotation. Symbolic perhaps of our neglect of the environment these swirling currents have bought together the world’s plastic waste and micro plastic, as hard plastics break down, and have converged to create a vortex of garbage in our ocean. One plastic gyre (there are five) covers an estimated surface area of 1,6 million km2, an area twice the size of Texas, or three times the size of France.
Flight or Plight110 x 178 x 4.5 cmOil on canvasR 32 500
The inspiration for this exhibition came when on more than one occasion, the artist mistook airborne plastic bags for birds in flight high in the sky. She was mesmerised by their beautiful dance, but on realising that they were plastic bags, these experiences brought home to her once again the impact that humans have on nature.
Flight or Plight relates this experience.
The petrel, a migrating sea bird, seemed a natural choice of bird species to show this transformation from flocks of birds filling the skies to flocks of plastic trash as consumers’ waste is inevitably cast down by the wind or vomited by rivers into the sea.
At a distance, the painting appears to be a flock of birds, but on closer inspection the details of barcodes, texture and shopping bag handles reveal that most ‘birds’ in the piece have transitioned from bird to bag.
Flushed70 x 110 x 4.5 cmOil on canvasR 16 250
More or less50 x 80 x 4.5 cmOil on canvasSOLD
This painting was a thought process on the naming of these vibrant water birds: lesser flamingos.
More plastic waste, more feeding and breeding habitat degraded, less (fewer) birds.
More mindful human action, less (no) plastic waste, more birds: more lesser flamingos.
More or less.
Net worth110 x 178 x 4.5 cmOil on canvasSOLD
A freediving gannet hunting for fish is, on closer inspection, created from an entanglement of discarded fishing lines and nets. At a deadly cost – not just to the fish.
Scatterlings110 x 178 x 4.5 cm Oil on canvasR 32 500
Skimming the surface50 x 80 x 4.5 cm Oil on canvasR 7 200
As the title suggests, we are only skimming the surface in our understanding of the effect of our consumerism-driven lifestyle. The rippled effect.
Spirit lines110 x 178 x 4.5 cmOil on canvasR 32 500
The Congregation70 x 110 x 4.5 cmOil on canvasR 16 250
While some of these exhibition pieces, as a self-reflection on our impact on nature, are a play on bags and birds (which are birds, which are bags and which would you rather experience?), this piece imagines into the future, spaces where birds once took up solid space – now only suspended cut-outs of sky.
Lisl Barry was originally a graphic art graduate from Cape Technikon, Cape Town in 1991, majoring in Printmaking and Photography. She lived with her nature conservation husband and their two young daughters on a remote nature reserve in the Little Karoo (Gamkaberg) for 23 years. They relocated to Oudtshoorn in 2017 where her studio is now based. This lifestyle of being immersed in nature has had a great influence on her work and the way she sees the world. She is passionate about the environment and natural living.
Barry began painting watercolours in earnest in 1985 at the age of 15, and oils in 2001. Her graphic design background (pre-digital technology) shaped the way she sees everyday scenes around her as a graphic interplay of light, colours and shapes; she is constantly aware of the striking and the subtle patterns within them; and of the tensions and energies created between shapes and lines. And how all these aspects can be used within her compositions to inspire emotion.
She believes that art, in any form, is vital to opening our eyes anew to the world around us – to make us see everyday things or situations in a way which we may not have previously experienced and, regarding her own work specifically, to reflect upon our relationship as humans to the environment, on a local and global level.
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