Bird Watching (Aqua Tanager), 2004
10 x 10 inches on 11 x 14 inch paper
Signed Edition of 50
(American, b. 1971)
Paula McCartney’s densely wooded landscapes are enlivened, ironically, by brightly colored craft store songbirds. While the deceit is more obvious in some pictures than others, what bears noticing is how these faux fowl punctuate their environments both as formal elements carefully arranged amid the arc and curve of brush and branches, and as a curious construction that offers an idealized vision of nature undercut by the gentle satire of that ideal.
McCartney’s studies include a Certificate in Photography from the International Center of Photography, New York (1996), a BFA from Empire State College, New York (1998), and an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute, California (2002). She is the recipient of a 2007/08 McKnight Photography Fellowship and a 2004 Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship Grant. Recent solo exhibitions include Bird Watching at Women’s Studio Workshop, Rosendale, New York, and Constructed Landscapes at 364 Hayes Street Contemporary Art, San Francisco. Her work is also held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; and the Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota. A monograph on McCartney’s Bird Watching series will be published by Princeton Architectural Press in spring 2010.