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Dissimulation - Peter B. Olson

On Display: December 4, 2009 – February 26, 2010

Artist Reception December 11, 2009 5-7pm
Fermilab Art Gallery, Wilson Hall

A vast flock of blackbirds, a lone raptor soaring, a hummingbird hovering, warblers flitting from branch to branch: birds define and animate the spaces they inhabit. They are, as naturalist Roger Tory Peterson has asserted, the most vivid expression of life. As such, there is a pulse-quickening excitement inherent in images of living birds and an intensified gravity and sense of loss in images of death or extinction. Today, birds are the most common wildlife presence that we experience. To humans, birds metaphorically represent the vast and complex natural world on many levels: their likenesses decorate stamps and calendars, their decreasing numbers signal environmental degradation, their mystery suggests a forceful yet unexplainable spirit in nature.

Throughout history, birds have played many roles in our lives: hunter's bounty, literary metaphor, scientific specimen, shaman's totem, predator, prey, scavenger, caged pet, artist's muse, destructive nuisance and didactic moral symbol. Although we as humans understand them in these many ways, something about birds remains elusive, distant and unknowable. They are always flying away from us.

"The natural property of a wing is to raise that which is heavy and carry it off to the region where the gods dwell." -Plato



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last modified 12/3/2009   

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