Chris May­nard

Dreams of flight

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS - CHRIS MAY­NARD

Chris May­nard’s up­com­ing ex­hi­bi­tion Ruffled Feathers runs from July 20 to Au­gust 18, in­clud­ing an open­ing re­cep­tion with the artist from 5 to 7 p.m. on the first night. This will be May­nard’s third con­sec­u­tive solo show with Ger­ald Peters Gallery, al­low­ing for more op­por­tu­ni­ties to dive head­long into the artist’s unique and in­no­va­tive shadow box feather de­signs.

Since feathers are the only shapes he works with, May­nard says he has to be very strate­gic and cre­ative in how they are placed com­po­si­tion­ally. “Part of what I do is about re­spect­ing birds and wildlife, so I don’t plas­ter the feathers onto the back­drop,” says May­nard. In­stead he uses in­sect pins, which are glued to a cot­ton-backed foam core, to pin up the feathers. This method also helps to cre­ate shad­ows, which May­nard says is a defin­ing el­e­ment in his work. Each work of art is en­tirely unique, and real feathers May­nard finds are metic­u­lously trimmed us­ing tiny eye surgery tools. “My medium is un­usual,” he notes.

“His dis­tinc­tive art­works con­tinue to sur­prise and de­light ev­ery­one vis­it­ing the gallery,” says Maria Ha­jic, di­rec­tor of nat­u­ral­ism at Ger­ald Peters Gallery. “His knowl­edge of birds, in­ven­tive­ness and hu­mor are ex­pressed in the abun­dant cre­ativ­ity of his de­signs.”

For May­nard, birds and feathers are the quin­tes­sen­tial sym­bols of flight. Al­though we each con­nect to the world in dif­fer­ent ways, peo­ple from all cul­tures across the world can re­late to the de­sire to fly, the artist ex­plains. He adds, “I have al­ways been in­ter­ested in flight, but I’ve only ever been able to do it in my dreams.” In­spired by Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, as well as Pa­le­olithic art that con­nects di­rectly to the earth, May­nard’s feather carv­ings are strik­ing. Pierc­ing the Veil shows off the vivid green of Ama­zon par­rot feathers, while Raven Cir­cle de­picts a flock of birds in a swirling mass.

As to what each piece means, May­nard says he likes to leave most of the in­ter­pre­ta­tion up

to the viewer. “All of the pieces have the same theme of trans­for­ma­tion, which is big in my work,” he says. “It could mean some­thing very sad to one viewer, and it could be very joy­ous to an­other.”

Raven Cir­cle, male ca­per­cail­lie tail feathers, 24½ x 19¼”

Mous­ing, her­itage tur­key feather, 11½ x 17½”

Chris May­nard at work in his stu­dio.

Pierc­ing the Veil, Ama­zon par­rot feathers, 12 x 12”

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