Canaries: Brian Mashburn Solo Exhibition

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Abend Gallery is proud to present Canaries, a solo exhibition by Brian Mashburn, opening on November 10th, 2021.


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Artist Statement:

Canaries is a series of new oil paintings featuring a variety of relatively common birds, at least familiar to me here in the North Carolina mountains. Except for the Kestrel, all of the birds depicted were observed and photographed from my studio window. Convenience aside, painting what some may call everyday birds is an opportunity to pay close attention to and garner new appreciation for commonplace encounters - which in my opinion, is the essence of birdwatching.

The show title, Canaries, refers to the proverbial canary in the coal mine. This metaphor strikes me as particularly apt when considering the decline in migratory bird populations and other troubling ecological trends. The not-inconspicuous absence of literal canaries in this series - but rather featuring subjects that perch outside my window every day - speaks to the nature of warning signs in an age of warning signs and their effectiveness as they approach ubiquity.

My motivation in making this work was equal parts celebratory and contemplative. I appreciate the birds I see daily - observing submoustachial regions and eye-stripes and the like while also trying to understand how everyday things tend to become invisible regardless of how dire the implications are.