The Harbinger

The Harbinger ©2011 Phillip Nesmith

Last night was the opening of the group exhibition Tribute 1 at Irvine Contemporary in Washington D.C.  This show is one of the last two shows (Tribute 2 opens next month) before Irvine leaves it’s 14th street location.  I made three new 24″ (the above image is 24×21″) glass plate images for this event, including The Harbinger show above and Das Narrenshiff which I posted a few days ago.  These works are a continuation of my Flight Patterns series of 2009.  These works contain dark driving forces hidden in the “decorative” compositions, and it is this camouflaging and the simplistic creation method that I enjoy about this work.

The star of this plate is the European Starling, which takes it’s place as the second bird I have used in this cameraless body of work.  The starling in Celtic and Welsh mythology is tied to the idea of communication and/or the messenger, which can be clearly seen in the Welsh story of Branwen who trains a starling to speak, and the bird crosses the Irish Sea to deliver a message to her brother.  The starling is also known by many in birding circles as the harbinger-of-spring as the birds often arrive shortly before robins, and as the harbinger-of-harbingers in some occult circles.  In this work, the bird is used as a symbol of both a messenger as well as a harbinger.

More work of this type can be found in the Flight Patterns gallery of my website.


~ by Phil Nesmith on June 12, 2011.

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