Penny Leaver Green’s new exhibition, Material World, being held at Slimbridge Wetland Centre until Monday 1 September 2008, explores the place birds have in our consciousness – from the way we anthropomorphise them in traditional children’s stories to the ways in which we both exploit them and try to protect them.
Comprised of 22 pictures, combining hand and machine stitches with reclaimed fabrics and hand dyed linens, the exhibition of Penny’s pictures are markedly different to reflect the differing attitudes we have towards birds, organisers say.
A series of pictures of birds and plants inspired by a visit to Japan marks the starting point of the work shown at Slimbridge, for which she has used scraps of kimono silks to reinterpret nineteenth century Japanese wood block prints.
There then follows a series of six common British birds and their eggs. These explore the changing population of Britain’s native species, with an additional picture of an Avocet highlighting its threatened history and vulnerability to egg theft.
Juxtaposed to these are bold stylised images of flocks of birds in fairy tales and more subtle illustrative moments from traditional tales such as The Happy Prince and The Emperor and the Nightingale. While at the centre to her exhibition is a large quilt, showing a stylised A-Z of British birds – which took nearly a year to complete in the build up to the Material World exhibition.
Penny said: ‘I want the ideas raised in the exhibition to encourage the viewer to reconsider our relationship with birds; the stitched facts about the birds are brief and incomplete, they are not intended to make any statement but offered as a starting point.’
Event: Material World Exhibition
Venue: Slimbridge Wetland Centre
Dates: Daily until Monday 1 September 2008
Times: Slimbridge Wetland Centre is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm everyday during the summer.
Tickets: Normal admission costs of £7.95 for adults, £6.15 for concessions and £4.35 for children aged 4-16 years apply, with under 4s admitted free of charge. See wwt.org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (01453) 891900 for more information.
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