ERGO SUM: A CROW A DAY
Karen Bondarchuk On Exhibit Now at The James Museum
The James Museum presents Ergo Sum: A Crow a Day, an exhibition featuring 365 original works of art by Canadian-born artist Karen Bondarchuk. Through her intimate and personal work, artist Karen Bondarchuck marked each passing day during the progression of her mother’s dementia. The resulting 365 paintings of crows explore universal emotions of grief love and remembrance.
In 2014, Bondarchuk set out to mark the passing time that her mother- diagnosed with dementia in 2010- no longer could. For 365 days, she produced a crow a day on a small hand-cut panel, remembering her mother as she once was and grieving her loss. The resulting body of work explores communication and an artist’s relationship to the world; it resonates for its depth, beauty, and whimsy. (Crow 19 Left)
While select imagery references personal history, the panels relate to universal emotions and sentiments. Bondarchuk chose playful, intelligent, and enigmatic crows and ravens to animate her series. Situating them in ways emblematic of the human condition, they stride and swagger, perch and cling, float and dive, converse and proclaim. Set against splashes and swipes of color, the birds’ gestures range from bold to inquisitive to quirky. Though Bondarchuk’s motivation to create the works was a loss, each panel brims with energy, personality, and expression. (Right Crow 16)
“The series is simultaneously a marker of my mother’s lost time and a constant reminder of my own days, my life, and an attempt to signal visually the preciousness and individuality of each day,” she said.
“Bondarchuk’s series is a touching tribute that reminds us that time is fleeting and beautiful,” said Emily Kapes, curator of art at The James Museum. “I think this exhibition will resonate with anyone who has experienced the decline or loss of a loved one.”
Ergo Sum: A Crow a Day is organized by the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI and will be on display from June 19 – September 6, 2021. The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art at 150 Central Avenue, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 727.892.4200 or visit www.thejamesmuseum.org.
Karen Bondarchuk On Crows and Wildlife:
The employment of animals in Karen Bondarchuk’s work is a means for her to explore the territory between humans and non-humans, and a way to (often humorously) put herself in the skin (or feathers) of another. Bondarchuk states that she tries to evoke a sense of the intricacies of human and animal relations, and stir a sense of empathy, particularly given the extent to which humans have come to dictate the terms of co-existence. These creatures often exist only at the periphery of our world, highlighting the reality that sustainability plays out under human direction, with our constraints imposed on them, although it is a pan-species ecological issue. She has stated that she has often been struck by the hurdles that non-human species must face in order to survive; in this, Bondarchuk typically finds herself squarely in the cheering section for the underdog.
Even if we believe we understand the universe better than animals do, have we not a moral obligation to act as responsible stewards to our non-human kin?
Please note the museum’s health and safety precautions such as reduced occupancy, heightened cleaning and disinfecting efforts, face covering and social distancing requirements, as well as visitor and employee health screenings. Visitors are encouraged to review all health and safety precautions prior to their visit on the museum web page devoted to COVID-19 updates.
About The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art
The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art provides experiences that inspire human connection and transformation through art depicting the peoples, landscapes, and history of the American West, and wildlife of the world. More than 400 premiere works of art including sculpture, paintings and jewelry are on display in the museum’s 26,000 square feet of gallery space. The museum engages the community through programs and educational opportunities, for all ages, that bring our history to life and amplify voices that are not often at the forefront of mainstream western art. When The James Museum opened in April 2018 it became one of the newest additions to St. Petersburg’s thriving arts community.
Content supplied by About The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art and from Karen Bondarchuk‘s artist statement. The feature image above is “elegy1” charcoal on Rives BFK paper. All images are works o Karen Bondarchuk for editorial purposes only, all rights reserved. For more exhibits at the James Museum click here and here.