“Everything that ever existed still exists”
March 14 April 18, 2009
Kopeikin Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of watercolor works on paper by Rebecca Bird. This is the first solo show in Los Angeles for the Brooklyn-based artist. The exhibition will open on Saturday, March 14th at the Gallery’s new location: 8810 Melrose Avenue (at Robertson Blvd.) in West Hollywood’s art and design district. There will be a reception with the artist on Saturday, March 14th, from six to nine o’clock. It is free and open to the public.
"Everything that ever existed still exists" will feature Ms. Bird's highly-detailed watercolor works on paper depicting explosions which have dominated the artist's practice for the past several years. Bird's paintings of explosions attempt to visually address emotional trauma and the inherent problems of empathy and visual communication. These explosions have become the vehicle for a body of work about how some subjects defy communication. Pivotal to this series is a loss of scale that accentuates the futility of conveying the enormity of a traumatic or violent event. Thoughtful pencil markings throughout the works empathetically allude to an underlying concern with systems of classification, cataloguing, and anxiety about the limits of understanding.
In addition to painting, Bird works in a variety of mediums including comics, album covers, film, animation, installation, and performs with the band, Ambergris. She tends to work in extended series', focusing on her chosen subjects for long periods of time. Previous bodies of work have included dead birds found in the city and Happy Meal toys. Regardless of the particular subject matter, Bird's visual language and overall thematic concerns continue to disseminate formality and static-ness, mental distancing techniques, and themes of empathy, communication, dissassociation, and recognition.
Since Rebecca Bird graduated from the Cooper Union School of Art in 2000, she has participated in solo and group exhibitions in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Luzern, Beijing, and Japan. While a student, she received the Ellen Battelle- Stoeckel Fellowship to the Yale Norfolk Summer School in painting, and immediately after graduation she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study the traditional Nihonga painting technique in Japan.
Concurrent to the Rebecca Bird exhibition, Beautiful / Decay : A-Z will continue to be on view at the gallery through April 18th, 2009. The exhibition has been extended to close on April 18th. Please see our gallery website for details.
Kanazawa College of Art and Craft, Nihonga department, 2001
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, BFA 2000
Yale Norfolk Summer School of Painting and Music, 1999
Born: Lynnwood, WA
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
Solo and Two Person Exhibitions
Kopeikin Gallery: Los Angeles, CA April 2011
Kopeikin Gallery: Los Angeles, CA March 2009
Anti-Matter Alma Mater: Southfirst Gallery, Brooklyn, NY June 2008
Anti Matter Alma Mater: Fumetto Comix Festival, Luzern, April 2008
Extracting the Exquisite: The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, NY March 2008
Bucheon Gallery, San Francisco CA, April 2005
Winter Indoors : Southfirst Gallery, Brooklyn NY, January 2005
Other Taxonomies: Wave Hill House Gallery, NY: October 2003
Matter and Fecundity: Cooper Union Humanities Gallery, NY: 2001
Silent Pictures; Murizumi, Yamatatsu, Bird: Oxidol Gallery, Kanazawa, Japan, May 2001
13: Collusion Gallery, Seattle, WA: 1997
Selected Group Exhibitions
Group show: Michael Steinberg Fine Art, NY, 2008
Road Works: Adam Baumgold Gallery, NY, 2008
Blank2008: Beijing, 2008
The Dark Fair: The Swiss Institute, NY, 2008
Selected Works, Southfirst Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, 2008
Micronauts: Andeas Melas Presents, Athens, Greece, 2007
Drawn to the Edge: Adam Baumgold Gallery, NY, 2007
Artist in Residence: The Swiss Institute at the Armory Show, NY, 2006
Fine Line: Adam Baumgold Gallery, NY, 2006
New Views: Gallery Joe, Philadelphia, 2006
In a Series: Adam Baumgold Gallery, NY, 2005
Mixture Gallery, Houston, TX, 2005
Sadie Hawkins Dance: Southfirst Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, 2004
Pretty Bird (not a love story): Bellwether, Brooklyn, NY, 2004
The Watercolor Show: Guild and Greyshkull, NY, 2004
Works on Paper: Southfirst Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, 2004
Aron Packer Fine Art, Chicago,IL, 2003
Postcards From the Edge: Sperone Westwater Gallery, 2002
Today: Swiss Institute, NY, 2002
Museum of Modern Art, NY
Fulbright Fellowship to Japan
Otherthings, a serial comic strip 2007
Cover, Maisonneuve magazine, Fall 2007
Landy, (with MatthewThurber). coloring book published in conjunction with the Swiss Institute, March 2006
Easter Special, self-published comic book (with MatthewThurber). April 2002
ArtSlant, posting by Troy Swain- January 2005- Winter Indoors: Southfirst Gallery
New York Times- June 12, 2004- Sadie Hawkin’s Dance: Southfirst Gallery
ArtAddict.com- April 29, 2004- The Watercolor Show: Guild and Greyshkull, NY
ArtForum Online- Critics’ Pick- January 2004- Works on Paper: Southfirst Gallery
Ambergris performance (with MatthewThurber, Hiroshi Kimura)., Issue Project Room, April 2007
Ambergris performance, May 2003 (with MatthewThurber).. Southfirst Gallery, Brooklyn NY
"We Share a Happy Secret", Ambergris (with MatthewThurber)., Hammer Museum, Los Angeles CA, July 2006
"Landy Coloring Station" (with MatthewThurber)., resident artist at the Swiss Institute at The Armory Show, March 2006
“Seeing and Believing” (with MatthewThurber), at Consolidated Works, Seattle, WA June 2000
Everything that ever existed still exists
This series of paintings re-presents photos of nuclear bomb blasts. As reference material I use government photos from the National Archive and published sources. The images tend to be somewhat familiar, as there are a limited number of photographs documenting a discrete number of events.
This imagery is defamiliarized by isolating the explosion in the center of a blank page- the setting is removed and the form of the blast appears abstract or biological. In the paintings any details that would assist a historical reading have been omitted, so that scale becomes difficult to make out; what remains are organic looking forms rendered in intricate detail, floating in expanses of white. Some pieces are minutely rendered in watercolor, as if I have gone through a process of examining every grain of the photograph without grasping the event pictured as a whole. These pieces are small compared to a person, so they might be mistaken for images of something microscopic. Sometimes the explosions are compounded into landscapes or growths. p;nbsp;
Other times the black and white photos are reinterpreted as glowing sunsets, expressing nostalgia for the idea of the end. The core issue of this imagery is the distance inherent in it, the built in barrier to understanding the meaning or content.
Some of the pieces include pencil lines, positing rulers by which to measure. The concern with accuracy, cataloging, tabulation reveals an underlying anxiety about the limits of knowing, of empathy, as well as other forms of understanding. The paintings attempt to duplicate mental distancing techniques. The formality and static-ness, the clean paper and cool shades of watercolor disassociate aesthetic appreciation from recognition of the subject.