March 20 – April 24, 2021
MIKE GLIER: Bird Songs of the Boston Public Garden
Krakow Witkin Gallery
In 2019, Mike Glier and Krakow Witkin Gallery began planning for Glier’s next exhibition at the gallery. As so much of his work is about site and sight, Glier proposed to make an exhibition engaged with a location near the gallery. Choosing the Boston Public Garden (a Victorian public park dating to 1837 that is steps away from the gallery), Glier spent the week of May, 2019 photographing the Garden and drawing the sounds of the birds.
“My artwork is motivated by the rupture between humankind and the natural world and the environmental destruction that flows from this self-inflicted wound. The bird songs which persist in urban spaces like the Public Garden, however, are testaments to unity. Each “doo doo, dee dee” and “twit twit” that resonates off the pavement and brick of the city is a song of reconciliation that says nature and culture are not separate things, but are a single entity, the living world.” (Mike Glier)
In the Garden, before putting pencil to paper, Glier closed his eyes, took an inventory of his senses and registered the fullness of the place, from sound (traffic, human conversations, songs among the birds) to touch (the bench, the sun, the dew) to smell (daffodils and Dunkin’ Donuts).
“The language of music and art overlap, so it’s not too difficult to translate sound into image. As a bird call rises and falls in pitch, so does my hand. As the volume increases, so does the size of the mark. Round sounds are drawn as ample loops with a soft hand, and sharp, raspy sounds are made with pointed and short marks drawn with clenched fingers. And the concept of rhythm brings these forms together into a unified visual flow.” (Mike Glier)
A year after its originally scheduled timing, “Mike Glier: Bird Songs of the Boston Public Garden” is on view March 18 – April 21, 2021. Krakow Witkin Gallery is proud to present paintings and drawings that developed from that week of May 2019, that not only present sound and sight together, but also time and interconnectedness, themes much important at this moment, and always.
“When I draw outside, I feel like the place is giving me little gifts. It gives me shapes and colors and sounds as prompts and with appreciation, I return the gift in the form of a drawing. I am reluctant to describe this exchange as if it were a relationship with another sentient being, since it suggests I’ve gone a little nutty, and strayed from rationality to favor magic! But there is something here worth considering and it’s not necessarily at odds with rational thinking that drives science. Imagining the human relationship with nature as one of reciprocity, or more simply, thinking of it as a culture of gift exchange, may be the turn of mind necessary to counter the extremes of rationality that have provided argument for taking too much and depleting the natural world to the point of crisis.” (Mike Glier)