Gina Sawin: New Work

April 24 – May 19

Opening reception: Thursday, April 26, 5 – 8 pm

Gina Sawin will exhibit recent work from her ongoing series of bird paintings.

Connected at once to earth, water, and sky, birds symbolize delicate ecological balances and, as a motif in Sawin’s paintings, they suggest our spiritual – and perhaps tenuous – connection to the planet. These shore and water birds, often featured alone, are suspended between the naturalistic and the emblematic, representing not necessarily how we see birds, but how we feel their presence.

Sawin received her MFA from the graduate painting program at Parsons School of Design where she studied with Leland Bell, Paul Resika, and Al Kresch, artists dedicated to the principles of “painterly representation.” There is a strong abstract underpining to her representation of forms from nature. Her birds occupy ambiguous space as they hover or alight, ascend and reflect. The relationship of their quasi-geometric shapes to the surroundings plays a role in meeting the challenge of creating simultaneously a surface and a spatial dynamic.

“I work from sketches, photographs, memory, and imagination – reworking and building up dense layers of paint with a stipple technique. The pebbly surface which results allows the bird to blend with its pictorial and natural surroundings, creating a cohesive whole.”

Sawin has had one-person exhibitions in Washington D.C., Farmington, Maine, and, most recently at the Audubon Center in Greenwich, Connecticut. Her work has been reviewed in Art in America, and reproduced in The Art of Maine in Winter, by Carl Little, published by DownEast books. While her roots are in New York, she has worked for the last ten years in her barn studio on the Maine farm where she lives with her family.

In the words of the celebrated naturalist John Hay: “We are attracted to birds through the spirit. [It] is their constant presence, and at the same time their elusiveness, which intrigues us.” This intrigue is at the heart of Sawin’s recent body of work.

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