there is a strange melancholy to taxidermy that draws me to it though i also feel a bit repelled/unsettled by it, especially in the case of taxidermy birds. last year around this time i visited jones beach in long island and came upon a seagull skeleton (sans head & feet, oddly.) it's wings were spread open, the few remaining feathers swayed with phantom life in the cold wind coming off of the sea. its entire ribcage had been picked clean and rose from the sand like an abandoned cathedral. it was an immense time of uprooting and tumult for me, coupled with the excitement of a new life, & the end of winter, the promise of spring looming like a nearly ungraspable dream.
there is something about these birds by jane howarth that reminds me of this moment where i crouched in the sand, bundled in winter clothes, examining the remains of something that had once soared. i am interested in how these birds are either "stuffed" with netted sheaths of hair, strands of pearls or curled roses shaped by ribbon, or are completey cloaked, as in this last one, seemingly corseted into what resembles a kind of straight jacket. this juxtaposition of immense beauty and madness embodied by dead, winged vessels, transports me to this time where i stood on the cusp of sea and land on the island where i was born.