Alke Schmidt


Portfolio


Birds of America (2010-12)


History of a Curious Incident in the Gulf of Mexico, Part 2 (2012)
Installation at The Stone Space , 2012

This project is inspired by the disastrous effect of the BP oil spill on the wetland habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. It was clear to me that it was pointless to try and compete with the shocking news photographs of oiled wildlife, so I had to think of something quite different. When rummaging through a bargain box of old prints at a London antiques market, I found a pile of pages torn from a book featuring reprints of John James Audubon's famous "Birds of America". Many of these birds breed or winter in areas affected by the BP spill, some are very endangered. Meanwhile, the National Audubon Society was publishing spill maps showing the spread of the BP leak at different times. Intrigued by the shapes of the spill, I decided to paint the spill shapes on top of 'rescued' prints showing potentially affected birds. An initial small set of overpainted prints is framed in simple black wooden frames to create the feel of an old-style natural history museum or conservation archive.
The next phase of the project involved a much larger chronological archive of birds and spills, exhibited at SPILL at the Stone Space in 2012.


Slide show of
History of a Curious Incident in the Gulf of Mexico, Part 1 (2012)

Review of SPILL exhibition and interview with artists

White Pelican/Oil Spill 11 May 2010
Enamel paint on found print, 34 x 43 cm framed
Private collection

Blacknecked Stilt / Oil Spill 2 June 2010
Enamel paint, acrylic and pencil on found print
Private collection

Seaside Sparrows (Composite Oil Spill May/June 2010)
Enamel paint, acrylic and pencil on found prints, 54 x 40 cm framed

Wetland Birds II (Composite Oil Spill May-July 2010)
Enamel paint, acrylic and pencil on found prints, 54 x 40 cm

Water-Turkey/Oil Spill 19 May 2010

Song Sparrow / Oil Spill 2 June 2010
Private collection

White-eyed Vireo / Oil Spill 9 June 2010

Sharp-tailed Sparrow/Oil Spill 12 June 2010
Enamel paint, acrylic and pencil on found prints (4 individually framed works, each 29.5 x 38 cm)




Wetland Birds (Combined oil spill May/June 2010)
Enamel paint, acrylic and pencil on found prints, 72 x 54 cm framed

All images copyright Alke Schmidt