The Bird and Bone Art of Joyce Sutler-Shaw and Sarah Perry
Both Joyce Cutler-Shaw and Sarah Perry are fascinated by bones, and bones are the subject matter and the medium of their art. For them, bones can reveal to us our origins. Because within our bones lies, encoded, the secret of life. In their art, bones acquire the significance of building blocks of matter. Bones connect to our collective consciousness of creation and are our shared link to the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, maintaining an invisible yet unquestioned presence throughout our lives as our organic support system.
A corollary vital role to bones in Cutler-Shaw and Perry’s art is played by birds. For thousands of years, since the Old Kingdom of Egypt at least, birds have symbolized victory over mortality, the passage of time, and death. The bird images of Cutler-Shaw and Perry perform a similar function: the signs of death, its decomposing flesh are substituted by the whiteness of the skeletal structure. In addition, Cutler-Shaw transformed the pigeon leg and foot into an alphabet of her own invention, linking bird and skeletal symbolism. Each artist is moved by the need to know and uniquely examines the world of physics and metaphysics: being and nothingness, endlessness and fixedness, mortality and immortality. Despite the affinities so far described, these artists are polar opposite in their artistic choice of medium and style, as the exhibition makes clear.
Joyce Cutler-Shaw focuses on drawings of skeletons and the black and white bone-alphabet which explores the dichotomies of life and death. Perry combs the
About the Artists
Joyce Cutler-Shaw is an artist of intermedia, including drawings, installations, public projects and artist’s books. Some of her public projects can be found at Mission Valley Branch Library, the
Sarah Perry burst on the art scene a decade ago with the large-scale grouping of gorillas that she fashioned out of scraps of rubber tires gleaned from the