Avifauna: Birds + Habitat
Glyndor Gallery | April 7–June 24, 2018
Pictured above: Peter Morgan,Frankford the Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus), 2014, 23 x 17 x 10 inches; Bernard the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), 2014, 24 x 17 x 10 inches; Stefan the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), 2018, 23 x 15 ½ x 9 inches, all low-fire ceramic, courtesy of the artist. Photo: Stefan Hagen
Peter Morgan’s practice is rooted in ceramics, a medium that he sees as both straightforward and accessible. A birder since the age of five, Morgan has recorded over 400 species in North America. In 2012, he began creating bird sculptures, rendered playfully in bright colors, as an ongoing project. On a smaller scale, these birds might be seen as decorative souvenirs, but at the larger-than-life size, they are commanding, and challenge both the medium and subject. Placed throughout the galleries, these birds become a focal point that contrasts with the fleeting presence of their live counterparts outdoors, where stillness and sustained observation are required in order to perceive them. Some of the titles use alliteration inspired by the bird’s Latin name. Thus Hirundo rustica is titled Bernard the Barn Swallow. Others are inspired by a specific place, such as Frankford the Northern Flicker, who is named after Frankford Avenue in Philadelphia. The project ultimately challenges our cultural assumptions about how birds are represented.
Morgan is an avid bird-watcher and ultramarathon runner. He earned a BFA at California College of Arts and Crafts; a BA in Art from Roanoke College; and an MFA at New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, NY. His work has been shown at Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN; the Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, PA; and The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA, where he has been a resident artist.
Pictured above: Peter Morgan, Frankford the Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus), 2014; Bernard the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), 2014; Stefan the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), 2018; Marvin the Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglotos) 2014–2018, courtesy of the artist. Photo: Stefan Hagen
Pictured above: Peter Morgan, Stefan the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), 2018, low-fire ceramic, 23 x 15 ½ x 9 inches, courtesy of the artist. Photo: Stefan Hagen
Pictured above: Installation view, Avifauna: Birds + Habitat (from left): Nina Katchadourian, Too Late, 2003, courtesy of the artist and Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Paula McCartney,American Goldfinches, Barn Swallows, Aqua Tanager, all from the “Bird Watching” series, 2004–2008, courtesy of the artist; PeterMorgan,Barry the Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula), 2018, courtesy of the artist. Photo: Stefan Hagen.
An exhibition catalogue published on the occasion of Avifauna: Birds + Habitat is available here.
Support for the Visual Arts Program is provided by Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.