Ornithology is a two-person exhibition of works on paper by Monique Luchetti and Barbara Kendrick.

Kendrick’s work takes the form of framed collages and Luchetti exhibits large human-sized drawings and video projected onto the floor of the gallery.

We are alive in a world where the distinction between what we know to be human and what we believe to be animal is shrinking. Kendrick’s and Luchetti’s works on paper use images of birds to speak of the ways our lives are inextricably tied together, interdependent and bound to the earth for survival.

Kendrick admires birds’ ability to survive and adapt to new, sometimes hostile, environments. She likes the way they build nests in the alphabet of signs on storefronts, or gather cigarette butts to line their nests. As she makes her collages, she tries to match her own sense of improvisation with that of the birds. Each collage opens up new questions about our connection to the way the birds live in our world. The birds change roles: survivor or victim? dominant or submissive? present or absent?

Luchetti sifts through museum’s ornithology collections as if they were cemeteries, gleaning the identities of the birds for her drawings from the bodies they have left behind, preserved and tagged by humans for further study. She resurrects the lifeless birds, frozen in position, and infuses them with a soul/essence, with a life she imagines for them. Luchetti’s drawings are a meditation of loss and remembering, and on the contradiction inherent in humans, racing to collect, classify, and catalog species, as they continue to haplessly destroy the same species through climate change and the devastation of the planet’s forests and oceans.

This exhibition is showing at the Giertz Gallery, Parkland College, Champaign, IL from October 1 to November 7, 2015. It is accompanied by a catalog with an essay by Timothy van Laar, Director of Fine Arts, College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI


“Barbara Kendrick’s collages operate like a cat among the pigeons. Collage is a medium of rupture and re-contextualization. Every piece of a collage works to create something new but at the same time connects to its past use. Her works create complex psychological spatial organizations that flow back and forth between the anxieties of the abject and the sublime. Kendrick’s collages have an improvisational twisting and turning that is as unpredictable yet as purposeful as a murmuration of starlings. Her references to birds shift in their roles, grotesque and beautiful, aggressive and submissive, survivor and victim. They have textures and contrasts that turn from the elegance of egrets to the bleak, stark harshness of crows and then back again. Collage always suggests absence, something came from somewhere else, and Kendrick’s intense image fragments manipulate this psychological potential into assertive, energetic turns of desire and loss.”

Tim van Laar
Ornithology: Work by Barbara Kendrick and Monique Luchetti