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Photography

An Arctic Ptarmigan Takes Flight in the 2022 Bird Photographer of the Year Competition’s Winning Capture

September 9, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Rock Ptarmigan Flight” by Erlend Haarberg, Norway. Gold Award Winner and Bird Photographer of the Year. All images © Bird Photographer of the Year, shared with permission

During the summer months, ptarmigans sport plumage of gray, brown, and black with white bellies and wings. Breeding in the high mountains where winter brings snow, the birds naturally camouflage by turning completely white. Norwegian photographer Erlend Haarberg’s capture of one of the upland game birds taking flight in the dramatic mountains of Tysfjorden won the grand prize in the 2022 Bird Photographer of the Year competition.

The world’s largest bird photography competition welcomed more than 22,000 submissions this year. Award-winning entries document the incredible diversity, habitats, and rituals of avian life around the world, from an elaborate mating displays to the range of landscapes they inhabit. This year’s contest raised more than £5,000 for Birds on the Brink, a charity that provides grants to smaller organizations working on conservation efforts. The top photos, which are now compiled in a book available in the competition’s shop, highlight a range of behavior and environments, from the first moments of flight to the keen wit and strength of urban dwellers.

The 2023 competition is now open and accepting entries from global bird photographers of all ages, and you can find more information on its website.

 

“The Doting Couple” by Richard Flack, South Africa. Bronze Award Winner, Bird Portrait.

“Strut Performer” by Ly Dang, United States of America. Gold Award Winner, Best Portrait.

“Pied Avocet Chick” by Tamás Koncz-Bisztricz, Hungary. Silver Award Winner, 14-17 years.

“Beads of Diamonds” by Sue Dougherty, United States of America. Bronze Award Winner, Attention to Detail.

“Sunset” by Thamboon Uyyanonvara, Thailand. Bronze Award Winner, 14-17 years.

“Puffin Love” by Brad James, Canada. Silver Award Winner, Best Portrait.

“Over the City” by Ammar Alsayed Ahmed, United Arab Emirates. Gold Award Winner, Urban Birds.

 

 



Art Design Illustration

Flora, Fowl, and Fruit Pop with Color in Diana Beltrán Herrera’s Ornate Paper Sculptures

September 7, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Diana Beltrán Herrera, shared with permission

A menagerie of beady-eyed birds and butterflies complement vibrant florals and fruity morsels in Bristol-based artist Diana Beltrán Herrera’s elaborate paper sculptures (previously). By utilizing subtle gradients to shape flower petals and making tiny cuts to detail individual feathers, the artist adds incredible dimension and density using the ubiquitous, 2-dimensional material. Ranging from shop window displays, to individual sculptures, to interior installations, she is often commissioned to make work featuring flowers or creatures specific to a location or region, and in a meticulous process of planning and sorting, she assembles different colors and sizes of paper into spritely flora and fauna.

Herrera has an exhibition planned for spring of next year at Children’s Museum Singapore, and you can find more of her work on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Photographic Composites of Birds and Environments Accentuate the Rich Textures and Colors Found in Nature

August 30, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Eclectus,” (2018), Indian peacocks. All images © Joseph McGlennon, courtesy of Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin, shared with permission

Hundreds of individual photographs comprise the richly layered works of Joseph McGlennon, who plucks particular textures and colors found throughout the natural world and splices them into new contexts. In one image, the cascading feathers of Indian peacocks frame a sailboat in the distance, and another centers on an Australian black cockatoo surrounded by rainbow lorikeets, butterflies, and flowering foliage. Many of the works accentuate the sheen and distinct patterns on the bird’s feathers and utilize the variances in shadow and light to cohesively position the subjects within their manipulated surroundings. By highlighting these features, the photographer references the earth’s stunning diversity and what could be lost given the increasingly disastrous climate crisis.

McGlennon has a solo show open through September 11 at Michael Reid Southern Highlands—he’s represented by Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin—and is also included in Bird published by Hoxton Mini Press. Find more of his works, in addition to glimpses into his process, on Instagram.

 

“Flowering Dry” from Awakening

“Silentium 1” (2021)

“Quiet Dawn” from Awakening

“Silentium 2” (2021)

“Electus,” wedgetail in Tasmania

“Silentium 3” (2021)

“Silentium 4” (2021)

 

 



Art

‘Division of Birds’ Opens at Paradigm Gallery with a Vast Exploration of the Avian World

August 25, 2022

Colossal

Gigi Chen. All images © the artists, shared with permission

From the caves of Lascaux to ancient engravings and jewelry, feathered life has populated some of the earliest artworks known to exist. A group exhibition opening this week at Paradigm Gallery + Studio in Philadelphia expands on this tradition by bringing together 11 artists working today who harness the vast creative potential of the avian world.

Curated by Colossal’s founder and editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson, Division of Birds flies through a wide array of styles and mediums in 30 pieces that consider winged creatures through both realism and fantasy. Working in vibrant acrylic, Gigi Chen imagines moss enveloping an oversized bluebird, while Calvin Ma creates a beaked disguise for his signature character. Other pieces include Drew Mosley’s caged owls and the energetically swirling feathers by Fio Silva.

Division of Birds runs through September 18, and if you’re in Philadelphia, join Colossal at the gallery for the opening reception on August 26.

 

Felicia Chiao

Fio Silva

Roberto Benavidez

Dina Brodsky

Calvin Ma

Drew Mosley

 

 



Art

Birds Swoop and Swell into Imagined Inky Murmurations in Fiona Watson’s Etchings

August 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

“The Murmuration Tree.” All images © Fiona Watson, shared with permission

“Biology is a very visual science—macro and microscopically,” says Fiona Watson. The Scotland-based artist channels her background in this field into a multi-media practice that spans photography, painting, land art, and printmaking. Observation, interpretation, and creativity by way of critical thinking are fundamental in both the sciences and art, and Watson harnesses these skills to create etchings of murmurations that mimic birds’ paths as they swoop through the sky. Collective flights “are extraordinary both metaphorically as shapeshifters occupying the space between heaven and earth and biologically as hundreds of organisms moving as one,” she tells Colossal.

Beginning with a digital sketch, Watson imagines various phenomenological patterns that she then translates to a copper plate using wax resists and acids. After inking the drawing, she sends it through the etching press, a process used for centuries.

The artist works out of the Glasgow Print Studio and has a new piece in the upcoming 50th-anniversary exhibition. Explore more of her practice on her site and Instagram. (via Women’s Art).

 

“The Persistence of Sound”

“Dark Sun Murmuration”

“And Then Songs Filled the Air”

“The Kindness of Trees”

“First There is a Mountain”

“Once Upon a River”

“The Waggle Dance”

 

 



Art

The Aquatic and Terrestrial Life of Southern California Merges into Hybrid Creatures in Jon Ching’s Paintings

August 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

“King Tide.” All images © Jon Ching, courtesy of Beinart Gallery, shared with permission

Los Angeles-based artist Jon Ching imagines the fantastic possibilities of melding Earth’s flora and fauna, rendering bizarre creatures with mushroom feathers and striped tulip fins. His latest oil paintings, which are on view this fall in Habitat at Beinart Gallery, extend this interest in hybridity by blending aquatic, aerial, and terrestrial organisms and their environments.

Marine ecosystems appear in many of the pieces, alongside cacti and succulents native to Ching’s home in southern California. In “King Tide,” for example, rising water approaches a cockatoo with plant-like plumage, and “Acclimate” depicts two green parrots perched on aloe growing below the surface. Each work envisions how different ecologies could converge and references nature’s resilience, the climate crisis, and the growing necessity of adapting to a changing world.

Ching’s solo show Habitat runs from September 11 to October 2 in Melbourne. Prints and stickers are available in his shop, and you can follow his latest works on Instagram.

 

“Acclimate”

“Reparation”

Left: “Hygge.” Right: “Think Tank”

“Double Vision”

“Flash Point”

Left: “Jungle Gym.” Right: “Neogenesis”

“Long Game”