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IntroductionBirds in Odd Circumstances
A flamingo and a pelican get lost in the jungle, or cranes explore new terrain. While it sounds like the beginning of a fairy-tale, it actually describes photographs so extraordinary, we have to ask ourselves: “Is this real?” New York photographer Pat Swain is a pioneer in digital art. She has developed her very own form of artistic expression.
Her curiously unique body of work lifts these creatures out of their natural habitats and places them in captivating environments – places where they ordinarily do not exist. These graceful birds take on sculptural dimensions, blending into the diverse flora perfectly on an aesthetic level. The spectacular contrast of colors is central to the power of the images, while the texture of the feathers echoes that of the vegetation.
But how do these birds end up in new territories? Places in which they have never existed? Here, the representational character of photography is challenged on a second level. Not only does Swain create the environments, the birds themselves are digitally transplanted; after photographing zoo animals, she composites them into these magnificent landscapes, where such birds would never have been found. Exploring the relationship between existence and environment, she draws our attention to the conservation of biodiversity and natural habitats.
It has come to this
Nature is fascinating in Pat Swain’s new series, not simply for its beauty and diversity, but also its resilience. Exotic plants and flowers embark on an unusual conquest: they’re reclaiming the habitats that once belonged to them and establishing harmony with the surrounding architecture. Lush flora meets classic, elegant forms. Swain even places charming birds mise-en-scène, who pose as the villa’s new inhabitants. They’re mirrored by yet another bird, the flamingos, who are painted upon the walls. With this composition Swain suggests that the arts will always look up to nature. A deep appreciation for nature is characteristic of Swain’s work. This time the artist takes the transitoriness of our civilization and confronts it with the eternal power of nature.BioPat Swain is an award-winning photographer. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute and a M.A from Columbia University. Her photographs have been published in numerous publications. Among Swain’s many awards are The London Creative Award ‘Discovery of the Year’, International Photo Awards, finalist, ‘Talent of the Year’, Paris PX3 Photo Awards, First Place. Her photographs are in a number of collections including Goulandris Museum, Kissfad, Athens, Greece, Los Angeles Museum of Digital Art, Koc Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, USA. She has taught Digital Imaging at School of Visual Arts in New York and various other universities. She currently lives and works in New York City.
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