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Artist's Statement: "The Woodpecker's Dream," by Susan Silas

By David Schonauer   Thursday May 15, 2014


Brooklyn-based photographer (and MAP reader) Susan Silas’swork encompasses a wide range of subjects, from her series “Sex After 50,” a personal diary about sensuality, to “Helmbrechts walk, 1998-2003,” a memorial testament to the forced march of 580 female Jewish prisoners at the end of the Second World War. But underlying the all her projects is a fascination with trauma, resilience, decay, and memory. Her ongoing “Found Birds” series, for instance, began when Silas found a sparrow lying on the sidewalk, took it homes, and photographed it. “It was clearly dead, but still warm and lifelike,” she has said. Silas has also created a number of motion pieces related to the project, the latest of which is a 20-second two-channel HD video called “The Woodpecker’s Dream” premiering this month at Dinter Fine Art: Online Project Room, Today, we feature Silas’s artist’s statement about this compelling piece of motion art.

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Artist’s Statement
“The Woodpecker’s Dream”
By Susan Silas

After more than a decade shooting found birds, they have begun to come to me as gifts. The first such gift was a bird from a Brooklyn yard, found early one morning by my friend Ellen, who spends a good deal of time tending her small but somehow regal fenced-in garden. Many years later, my friend Dawn happened upon a newly dead raven on the roadside in upstate New York. She hastened home for a plastic bag and preserved that majestic creature in her freezer for me until I could come up and fetch it. And most recently my friend Roger came upon this solemn and beautiful redheaded woodpecker in the middle of Manhattan. He instantly thought to email me to see if I would like to have it. My friend Lisa froze a small bat for me. I photographed him too, but less successfully.

The Woodpecker's Dream is a two-channel HD video. Go here to view it. 

Go here to view more of Silas's "Found Birds" photo and video series.

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