The latest show at the Kenai Art Center, “Bird Call,” is taking flight Friday with a special opening reception, and will be available for viewing throughout March.
“Bird Call” is an open call show, where local artists were asked to submit “all things avian.” The exhibition features paintings of birds, photos of birds and sculptures of birds, including crows, ravens, owls, hawks, eggs and more.
Charlotte Coots is one featured artist, with three paintings in the show.
“All my work was about the interplay between humans and birds,” she said Wednesday. “Thinking about how much time people spend watching birds, I wondered, do they watch us exactly the same way back?”
One of Coots’ paintings, “The Race,” shows a captain at sea, birds trying to race him. One bird has landed on a stick in his hat.
“That one was about this idea, about birds being fun-loving and their interaction with people,” she said. “I think it would be funny to see birds flying and trying to race a sea boat captain.”
Georg-Anne Phillips has art in the show, which she said was abstract work. Phillips described them as “my wire drawings,” combining ink pen with watercolor.
“I start with no major plan except the subject,” she said. “Which of course in this case was birds.”
Birds are a recurring theme in Phillips’ art. She said she tries to put a bird in every piece of art she creates, “even if its hidden.”
A love of birds was sparked early when Phillips came to Alaska, she said. The size and beauty of the ravens “stunned” her, and it all took off from there.
“They make me happy,” she said.
George Kirsch is another artist, a photographer who also has three pieces in the show, depicting a northern parula, a sharp-shinned hawk and a spotted towhee.
Kirsch said wildlife of all kinds has always been of interest to him, starting at an early age when he would go on fishing trips or look for salamanders and butterflies. Bird-watching is compatible with other outdoor activities, he said.
“Every time I go fish, I’m out there and I hear birds in the background. I’m very tuned into them,” Kirsch said. “I could be really concentrating on fishing, but I can still be bird-watching.”
Bird photography is “kind of the main thing I do,” he said. Participating in shows like “Bird Call” gives him the opportunity to see everyone else’s work and see people enjoying his own, he said.
Coots said she loved birds, that she feeds them and she reads about them. Despite that, she said she hadn’t painted birds before participating in “Bird Call.” Submitting art to every open call show is a goal for Coots this year, she said, so when “Bird Call” came around she decided to “launch” into painting birds.
“Birds are fantastic,” Coots said. “They’re very interesting, they’re beautiful, they’re tenacious.”
Most opening receptions at the Kenai Art Center are on Thursday, but the show’s opening reception will be on Friday, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Live music will be performed by the Tune Weavers. Kenai River Brewing will also be bringing and launching a new special themed beer, “Ya Yellow-Bellied Sap Sucker,” a Sahti-style ale.
After the opening reception, “Bird Call” will be available for viewing during Kenai Art Center hours, Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information about “Bird Call” or other upcoming shows, visit kenaiartcenter.org or facebook.com/KenaiArtCenter.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at email@example.com.