This series of paintings is a peculiar kind of tribute to what is generally called the ‘found object’. Whether it is kid’s marbles, an old rusted toy car, a canning jar full of peaches, or a Double Bubble gum wrapped blowing down the street, there is something challenging and intriguing about the ‘found object’.
Maybe it’s the collector in me, (and perhaps that’s been honed by so many years working in Museums), but it’s an easy exercise for me to take a simple found object and make a collection of them. That’s what I’ve done here....but I’ve subverted the ordinariness of the object with a little style.
There is something else going on here too though.
Now, I don’t want to get all heebie geebie in this blog, but feathers have always seemed to hold a kind of mystique about them. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way either. We pick them up off the ground and (more often than not) we hold them up in the air....maybe hold them up to the sun in the sky. Why is that, eh? I’m a geographer by training, and geography is about recognizing patterns. So I have to ask myself, why do so many people have that pattern of behavior with feathers. I don’t care if it’s simple of me or perhaps naive....but I can’t help thinking there is something to that gesture that is deeper than a casual arm movement. We give the feather a pause as we hold it up too, don’t we. Why is that? We all do it.
This is a cross-cultural thing in every way too. Feathers show up in my own Scottish lineage just as they show up in so many other cultures. Every culture has ‘elders’, and I remember my Scottish Grandmother (Mom’s side) holding feathers with some reverence. That lineage is strong in me. I don’t have any interest in dissecting that curiosity....I just find myself enjoying it.
So that’s where these feather paintings came from - they are works from my palette, but I couldn’t help thinking of my Scottish Grandmother as I painted them. And when I look at my granddaughters, I wonder what they think and what they feel when they pick up a feather on a wilderness walkabout.
Meaning comes in lots of forms....in places, in melody, in the scent of a gardenia, and so much more. Objects have meaning too - they can carry an individual meaning and they can carry a wider human/collective meaning. I think feathers carry both in significant ways and do so simultaneously.
So here is a series of watercolour feathers from me to you. It brought me joy to paint them, and I hope they will bring you joy to look at them.
All three of my Winter 2020-21 Collections (Nautical Ephemera; Feathers; and Story Paintings) will go live at 6:00am (PST) on Saturday, April 17, 2021 on my website at www.waynewilsonart.com
I hope you’ll stop by for a comfortable stroll through this new work.
Wayne Wilson, Kelowna BC