Having been in residence at Torquay Museums Natural History stores each week for the past three months, the show ‘In the Red – Nature in the Balance’ is now open every day (apart from Sundays) until September 3rd. I’m showing a range of new work in response to both the Victorian collection of taxidermy birds and the updated red list which now contains 52 birds, some of them so common it’s shocking to see them now classed as under threat. Birds such as the Herring Gull, the Sparrow, the Starling and the local Cirl Bunting are all now seen as being at risk. Exploring folklore, common names and stories about the birds as well as creating two new ‘tableaux’ with some of the original stuffed birds, I also created two new large drawings on gesso and a collection of photographs called ‘The Daughter Series’.
I’ve been visiting the museum once a week for the past five weeks and have worked out that in their natural history stores they have about 80% of the birds from the RSPB red list.
I’ve given myself a deadline to finish 52 sketches of the birds on the list by the time I’m installing work at the museum for the show which will open mid July. What I’ve noticed is how much better the drawings are when they’re from a real, albeit dead, bird. There are stunning things in the collection – drawers full of eggs, shelves full of stuffed birds and shells, coral, beetles and butterflies. To find out more read my blog at: http://www.torquay-residency.ghost.io