HOODWINKS AND LYRES
The works from the series ‘Hoodwinks and Lyres’ are based on the interaction and interrelationship between humans and animals, nature and culture, connections that have existed for centuries within the practice of falconry. The works act as metaphors for the struggle of control over nature, the imprecise and empirical endeavours to harness the wildness of the raptor. These magnificent birds wear elaborate hoods, not to disguise their identity, but to temporarily emasculate their innate wildness.
The work also touches upon the anthropomorphic tendancies that dwell in the human psyche. The raptors are drawn head and shoulders, a compositional equivalent to the ‘bust’ in classical portraiture. It is also conceivable to attribute human qualities to these ‘raptor portraits’ they could appear disdainful, aloof, stoic, even contemplative.
Perhaps what is suggested in this work is that nature has become a silent witness to the destabilising forces that humanity exerts upon this world.
The mythology of the Lyrebird stretches back to Aboriginal lore. It is the bird that resolved the first dispute between all creatures and given its ability to communicate with all other animals it was rewarded by the spirits for its role as peacemaker.
The work is a synthesis of a number of things, life and death, beauty and the macabre, the natural world and the technological world, and the way the Lyrebird is used to symbolize national character.
The lyrebird is a symbol of beauty, mystery and exuberance and the tail feather skulls reference the cycle of life and death. When these mortal opposites are distilled in the imaginative space, the synthesis results in ambiguity and irony, a slightly vexed expression of a metaphysical reality, one that underlies the vital connections that exist in the world we inhabit.
Text by Martin King and Sheridan Palmer