American artist Chris Maynard gives homage to nature through the plumage of birds -using feathers acquired from legal sources such as zoos and private aviaries all naturally shed by birds. Working with delicate tools, he carves into feathers to create images of the very creatures that shed them, inventing poetic and playful composition of birds in flight.
His delicately constructed shadowboxes play with the aspects of lights, texture and negative space. Often Maynard places the positive cut-out next to its negative shape, making it appear as if the tiny bird is flying from the feather, or escaping its original form. Each feather varies in size and color, from the tiny and muted to large and brightly colored.
Maynard says of his work:
‘Feathers are structural wonders, serving many functions. They also suggest important universal themes. Feathers are my medium. They are an ultimate achievement of nature and a pinnacle of wonder. After feathers perform their functions on birds, they are molted yearly but keep their beauty and complexity. I want to show feathers in a different light, off the bird. I enjoy highlighting aspects of a feather’s form, pattern or color. if I am successful, I hope to convey some intimate sense of the bird that grew the feathers… Feathers are one of life’s perfect wonders; with this in mind, the three dimensional forms, colors, and shapes are preserved as they were on the birds they came from.’