Lisl Barry, fine artist based in Oudtshoorn, Klein Karoo, Western Cape - South Africa Lisl Barry, artist and author based in Oudtshoorn, Klein Karoo, Western Cape - South Africa
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Birds of a Feather

To view under gallery _ birds of a feather l

To view under gallery _ birds of a feather ll


The inspiration for this body of work came when on

more than one occasion I mistook the flight of plastic

bags high in the sky for birds. Although captivatingly

beautiful in their dance, the realisation that they were

actually plastic bags brought home to me once again

the impact that humans have on the environment. It

goes deep and wide. And how seemingly oblivious we

appear to be of our role in it. We are a part of nature.

Yet often we behave as if we are something apart.

Something separate.







Close up of Birds or bags


These paintings are a visual interplay between flocks of

birds and flocks of plastic, hoping to ignite introspection

into our individual role in elbowing nature aside through

our lifestyle choices.








Flight or Plight (oil on canvas, 1100x1780mm)



The petrel, a migrating sea bird, seemed a natural choice

of bird species to show this transformation in Flight or

Plight
from flocks of birds filling the skies, to flocks of

plastic trash as consumers’ waste is inevitably cast down

by the wind or vomited by rivers into the sea.







Close ups of Flight or Plight


At a distance, the painting appears to be a flock of

birds, but on closer inspection the details of barcodes,

texture and shopping bag handles reveal that most

‘birds’ in the piece have transitioned from bird to bag.









Bird or bag (oil on canvas, 1100x70mm)


This piece is a twisted visual play on Escher’s bird and

fish series, Sky and Water. The negative spaces to the

left of the painting which mirror the (positive) birds in flight,

are formed from airborne, plastic, “on sale” shopping bags.

An ironic statement on one of our greatest achievement as

mass consumers.







Net worth (oil on canvas, 1100x1780mm)


A freediving gannet hunting for fish is, on closer inspection,

created from an entanglement of discarded fishing lines and

nets. At a deadly cost – not just to the fish.







A taste for life (oil on canvas, 500x800mm)


These white-fronted plovers are masters of disguise in

their natural beach habitat. Their speckled eggs are

perfectly camouflaged to hoodwink the sharpest of eye

and they will run at great speed on their spindly legs to

attract a would-be predator away from their eggs or chicks.

All one sees of the parent is rapid movement. The art of

distraction. Coca-Cola once advertised that “Coke adds

life”. Their plastic waste in these natural settings makes

this claim ring hollow.


Coca-Cola have the dubious honour of being the world's

worst plastic polluter for the third year in a row (2020).









Dove Tale (oil on canvas, 1100x1780mm)


While many of these pieces, as a self-reflection on our

impact on nature, are a play on bags and birds (which

are birds, which are bags and which would you rather

experience?), other pieces are simply a celebration of

birds in their natural environment.


As they should be. Unhindered, clean, and free to be ...




Flushed (oil on canvas, 1100x70mm)





Scatterlings (oil on canvas, 1100x1780mm)





More or less (oil on canvas, 500x800mm)





Blues (oil on canvas, 500x800mm)





The Congregation (oil on canvas, 1100x70mm)





Feathered gyre (oil on canvas, 1100x70mm)




To give some insight into the title of this last piece :

Gyres are large systems of circular ocean currents

formed by global wind patterns and forces created

by earth’s rotation.


Symbolic perhaps of our neglect of the environment

these swirling currents have bought together

the world’s plastic waste and micro plastic, as

hard plastics break down, and have converged to

create a vortex of garbage in our ocean. One plastic

gyre (there are five) covers an estimated surface area

of 1,6 million km2, an area twice the size of Texas, or

three times the size of France.


Makes one think. And hopefully rethink.