Cahoon Museum: Bird Carving Exhibition – PRESS RELEASE

At Rest, In Flight: Cape Cod Bird Carving
August 23 – October 8, 2017

COTUIT- The Cahoon Museum of American Art presents an exhibition dedicated to the history of bird carving, a distinctly American art form. Objects included in the exhibition range from functional decoys used in hunting to inspired art objects, highly prized by collectors. Artists featured in the exhibition are considered masters in the field who capture wildlife subjects in precise and naturalistic detail, such as historic carvers Elmer Crowell (1862-1952) and Eldridge Arnold (1928-2009), as well as a number of prominent contemporary carvers. Curated by Cape Cod master bird carver, Eric Kaiser, the exhibition opens to the public on Wednesday, August 23 and continues through Sunday, October 8, 2017. A free public reception with the artists will be held on Friday, August 25 from 5:30 to 7:00pm at the Museum’s location at 4676 Falmouth Road in Cotuit.

A special press preview will take place on Wednesday, August 23 at 10:00am; rsvp to Christy Laidlaw, Communications and Membership Manager,

Image: Al Jordan, Vineyard Proprieter (Cooper’s Hawk)

In the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, hunters constructed bird decoys to lure birds into shooting range. Rising demand for wild game as meat in growing cities created the occupation of market hunters who used new developments in firearms to decimate bird populations in the United States. The outlawing of market gunning in the 1920s created a shift as some of the most accomplished decoy carvers turned to carving and painting of waterfowl and game birds as solely decorative pieces. These carvers were followed by a new generation of artisans who carved and painted non-game birds and song birds of many species, geared toward an audience of collectors. At Rest, In Flight: Cape Cod Bird Carvings chronicles the stories and highly individualistic styles of key carvers from the early twentieth century through the present. The exhibition highlights an important group of one-of-a-kind, handmade contemporary bird carvings by regional and Cape Cod artists, including Sheila Bowen, Marty Collins, Reid Higgins, Al Jordan, Eric Kaiser, David Morin, Bob Mosher, June Noll, Floyd Scholz, and Steven A. Weaver.

Related programs are planned in conjunction with At Rest, In Flight: Cape Cod Bird Carvings. Steven A. Weaver, a professional restorer of early decoys and bird carvings and Master Carver, will give a bird carving demonstration entitled From Block to Bird: the Tools & Techniques of Basic Carving showing progress examples from initial patterns to a finished, painted carved bird on Tuesday, September 12 at 11:00am. Guest Curator and Master Carver Eric Kaiser will give a gallery talk on Thursday, September 21 at 2:00pm about the unique history of bird carving and the skills required by contemporary carvers. Kaiser explains, “It takes a while to get something good; you have to be a sculptor, a painter, and a woodworker. You also have to know a little bit of anatomy, as well as being comfortable with working with different materials used in painting and sealing.” RSVPs are required for both programs.

A dynamic center for appreciation of the visual arts, the Cahoon Museum is home to a collection of American art with a special focus on regional art of the Northeast and Cape Cod. The museum celebrates the creative spirit of folk artists Ralph and Martha Cahoon through the preservation of their artwork and the historic building which served as their home and studio. The museum presents an ambitious schedule of original exhibitions and programs each year.

The Museum is open six days a week, Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm and on Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Admission is $10 general, $8 for seniors and students, and free for museum members and children under 12.

Author: Mashpee Chamber of Commerce

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