Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Feast your Eyes on Feathers

Fancy a peacock’s superb tail, trailing behind it as if in a pageantry full of pomp and circumstance. Now think about the magnificence, the beauty, the fascinating colours in shades of deep blues and greens and the absolutely perfect shape of each of its feathers...  It could only spark off the greed of royalty and the vanity of the affluent throughout the world.

Feathers have always been associated with beauty, colour, fashion and wealth. It is not in vain that they are used in high fashion design gowns fit for queens. They add flair to a hat, panache to uniforms, distinction to costumes, glamour to a fan gracefully held by a woman’s hand.

Chris Maynard, an American artist based in Olympia, Washington, admits to having always been fascinated by feathers – which he considers to be small pieces of perfection – and now dedicates his time and huge talent to the creation of amazing feather-light miniature sculptures. A Nature lover, Maynard is especially careful about the origin of the feathers he uses, which he collects from generous private aviaries, zoos and non-profit bird rescue organisations when birds shed their plumage. He then recycles them in his art, whose most common themes are – quite naturally – connected to birds.

His meticulous creations require the use of complex tools such as eye surgery scissors, forceps, scalpels and magnifying lenses, which he has to handle with great precision. Once completed, his stunning images of birds are then mounted onto frames commonly known as shadowboxes, which allow for the full perception of their three-dimensional nature.

The American artist, who actually started by photographing feathers, then evolved into creating feather art pieces in 2011, after his mother’s death – herself an artist too. He has produced more than eighty pieces since then, each of them taking up to several days’ work before mounting them onto the shadowboxes.

Quite fittingly, he calls his project “Featherfolio” and Maynard’s exhibition, on display in different towns in the United States since the beginning of this year, goes under the adequate and appealing title of “Feather’s Second Flight”.

Maynard, who could be called a feather “whisperer”, says that he hopes “that seeing birds in a different light through my artwork will encourage appreciation of avian life and, hence, a desire to conserve it.” In fact, his breathtaking designs are accurately arranged so as to remind viewers of the feathers’ origins and, for their fascinating beauty and lightness, are, indeed, a pleasant invitation for viewers to feast their eyes on feathers.

No comments:

Post a Comment