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‘The Birds and Some Bees’ a study of objects at Swan Coach House Gallery

Nest #10 by Chris Dondon, a work in wood, limestone and alabaster.

Nest #10 by Chris Dondon, a work in wood, limestone and alabaster.

Visual arts review

“The Birds and Some Bees.”

Through March 6. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesdays-Saturdays. Swan Coach House Gallery. 3130 Slaton Drive. 404-266-2636. www.swancoachhouse.com.

By Catherine Fox

“The Birds and Some Bees,” at Swan Coach House Gallery, is all about objects. Many of the paintings, sculptures and prints contributed by 14 Southern artists bespeak the venerable tandem traditions of naturalistic representation and craftsmanship.

Drawing on his experience as a printmaker, Tim Hunter has carved wood reliefs of birds in their habitats that combine the precision of Audubon with an expressionist treatment of surface.

Joe Walters presents similar subject matter in table-top sculptures, but he takes them out of the realm of ornithology into the poetics of time. Encrusted with gritty patinas, they bring to mind artifacts and human remains uncovered at Pompeii.

Chris Condon’s clever fashioning of wasp nests out of laminated wood, stone and other materials are, like the previously mentioned works, imbued with a sensuous vitality.

The visual experience is center stage here, along with good-natured cheer, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Still, the tone belies the motivations behind some of the work, which a little help from labels and such might have brought forward. For instance, that Hunter depicts endangered species would be lost on all but the birders in the audience.
The context even tames a painting by Sarah Emerson, otherwise known for discomfiting depictions of nature gone awry.

Catherine Fox writes about art and architecture on www.ArtsCriticATL.com.

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