Gina Sawin - paintings

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Painting large bird groups allows me to explore both formal aspects of representation in the modernist tradition and express my concerns for ecological continuity.

My challenge is to capture the abstract patterns created by birds in a moment of flight while keeping them in a real and distant space. I use the same limited palette for both birds and sky to suggest they are inextricable, almost dissolving into one another, while at the same time the geometry of shifting lights and darks gives a sense of movement. If successful, the pebbly surface lends cohesion, and suggests the particles of matter that form both subject and surrounding space.

Migrating birds seem to me a poignant reminder of the earth’s life cycles, and, in a metaphorical sense, the strength of the whole as a sum of parts. When I am working my studio, looking carefully at each individual bird in the context of a community, my mind drifts to other groups getting from one place to another, seeking refuge, or the right to survive. I feel the paintings asking: will we get where we need to go?

~ Gina Sawin