New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Paula McCartney
Bird Watching

John James Audubon would be amused by “Bird Watching” or maybe just appalled. After all, in this exhibition, photographer Paula McCartney has managed to capture a variety of colorful birds across the United States; winter bluebirds in Interlochen, Michigan, a summer tanager in Florida, two Baltimore orioles perched on a tree branch in Minnesota and at just the right angle for the camera, 19 images in all. At first glance, you may ask, “What lens did it take to get that close?” “How did she get them so perfectly positioned?” But look closely and it becomes apparent that things aren’t always what they seem to be. In this case, these songbirds are store-bought fakes, wire constructions with painted beaks and eyes, stuck into their native habitats by McCartney who aims to show there is a fine line between fact and fiction. McCartney explains that her long walks in the woods were frustrating since the birds she admired were too far away or not posed right for her camera, so she simply created pictures every bird watcher longs for but rarely sees. The pictures and birds are so perfect, the viewer may wonder if fake trumps reality. And in this case, the answer is self-evident. McCartney says, “...This work explores how nature and fabricated elements can combine to create a scene that questions what is natural, and whether being so holds any intrinsic importance.” What adds to the conceit are the remarks under each photograph: name, size, coloring and location. The result is an exhibition that leaves the viewer with a heightened sense of appreciation for walks on the wild side. For nature lovers and all others, this exhibition is a breath of fresh air.

Paula McCartney
Bird Watching

Klompching Gallery
111 Front St. 2nd Fl
Dumbo Brooklyn         Map

212 796 2070

Wednesday, March 3 to
Friday, April 23, 2010
Hours: Weds to Sat, 11 to 6