Above: A wide array of birds were featured in “Heading North for the Winter,” even some made from recycled materials and household items. (Courtesy of Janeece Woodson/The Current)
By Lori Dresner, News Editor
A collection of pieces that immersed the viewer in the colorful and curious world of birds and trees was on display for just under a week at Gallery Visio in the Millennium Student Center. The feathery exhibit, titled “Heading North for the Winter” featured artwork from various St. Louis artists, including University of Missouri—St. Louis student Aimee Kick, senior, studio art, and UMSL lecturer of art and art history Linda Bangert. The exhibit opened January 23 with an artist reception and closed January 29.
Upon an initial sweep of the artwork, it was obvious that a wide assortment of birds and trees of different colors, sizes, shapes, textures, and media were showcased in the exhibit. Birds included owls, geese, chickens, quails, ostriches, chickadees, and grosbeaks—just to name a handful. A few origami birds even made an appearance.
One of the most intriguing pieces in the entire exhibit was titled “You’ve Got That Thing” by Anne Marie Mosher. Immediately, the most noticeable part of the piece is a round mirror centered amid the mosaic design of ceramic tiles. Upon closer inspection, three birds are perched in the trees framing the mirror. Three lyrics also appear in the corners of the piece: “You’ve got that thing … You’ve got that thing … that makes all birds forget to sing.” The lyrics come from a 1930 hit called “You’ve Got That Thing,” written by Cole Porter and performed by Bobby Short.
The works of three artist sisters—Julie, Joan, and Christine Bugnitz—were also dispersed throughout the exhibit. A collection of four prints by Julie depict birds in simple scenes, such as a crow feasting on berries and a chickadee resting on a pine branch in winter. The specific method Julie used to create the pieces was collagraphy, a process of making prints out of a collage. For the more minute details, such as the tree branches and birds’ feathers, she used embossing, a technique of creating raised impressions on a surface such as paper or metal. This technique gives the piece a three-dimensional style, evident in Julie’s prints.
Although birds were the predominant theme in this exhibit, a few eye-catching pieces of trees could not be ignored. The largest piece in the entire exhibit was titled “Apple Trees,” by Linda Bangert. It depicts a scenic and serene view of several apple trees on an embankment overlooking a lake. Speckled with red flecks, the water appears to reflect a sunset.
Displayed along with some pieces were the artists’ poems or handwritten notes, which provided personal touches about their work. In a poem titled “Farewell,” Christine Bugnitz recalls her sadness at a fallen willow tree: “I remember the sound most of all … the creaks and squeaks marking the inch by inch …When it finally eased itself to the ground, splayed in a sorrow spectacle, it was then we wept for our willow.”
In addition to framed artwork, a plethora of other feathery creatures of other various materials were placed on tables throughout the gallery. Joyce Pion’s collection of fiber birds, “The Mourning Dove,” “Barnyard Fowl,” and “The Purple Martin,” consist of a wide array of materials, including fibers, fabric, lace, buttons, and sequins. Some birds were even constructed out of recycled materials, such as soda cans and bottle caps.
If one did not get a chance to stop by and see “Heading North for the Winter,” be sure to visit Gallery Visio’s upcoming exhibit, “Landon Ruan’s New St. Louis.” It will debut on February 3 with an opening reception of food and beverages and run through February 26. Gallery Visio is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment.