Opening the same evening in the west space is an exhibition of photographs by emerging artist Catherine Ulitsky.
Raised in the rural Hudson River Valley of New York, Ulitsky’s work reflects her fascination with natural phenomena. This series captures the ever-changing patterns created by a flock of European Starlings. Upon these photographs, Ulitsky paints bold lines linking the individual birds, creating shapes that are both organic and geometric.
These shifting shapes call to mind the migratory nature of birds, and suggest renewal and creation. The lines contextualize the seemingly random mass of birds, underscoring the originality and innate design of flock formation. With acute observation of the natural world, these photographs reveal nature’s capacity for infinite transformation and what the artist calls, “the limitless complexity and wonder of the world we inhabit.”
Ulitsky’s imposed organization of the flock highlights an important fact: this species was imposed on North America in 1890, when 100 of the birds were released in New York City’s Central Park. Eugene Schieffelin, who introduced the species, was part of a group that sought to bring common European species to the U.S. that were included in the written works of Shakespeare. There are now over 200 million European Starlings in North America. They are very social, and a flock can number into the thousands; the massive, amorphous shape of these flocks is a phenomenon known as “Black Sun.”
Just as Ulitsky illustrates the individual bird’s connection to the entire flock, her own work illustrates a symbiosis with the natural world. Ulitsky says “my work presents and explores aspects of our surroundings in ways that are new to me, yet faithful to what exists in nature… It is an exciting, reciprocal process that continually reinvigorates my own appreciation for what is around me.”
Ulitsky lives in western Massachusetts, where she finds inspiration in her surroundings. She studied printmaking at the Maine College of Art and now works in etching and book art, creating limited edition hand-made artist’s books.