Gabriel Willow's Ecolegiac: Missing Birds of NYC imagines some of the bird species now missing from New York’s landscape that have been—figuratively and literally—drawn back into it. ‘Ecolegiac’, an amalgamation of ecology and elegiac, is a term coined by Willow as a lament for bird species missing from this area. Across the continental United States, there are about nine species of birds that have disappeared since the 1800s. Of these, five may have once occurred in what is now New York City; the Labrador duck, the Carolina parakeet, the great auk, heath hens and the passenger pigeon. By examining museum specimens, Willow has used his knowledge of living related species to inform the bird representations. He speculates about a future when ‘de-extinction’ could bring them back to New York City. Willow has drawn these missing birds on vellum that is overlaid on photographs of present-day New York where these species might have been found.
Gabriel Willow is an artist and naturalist with a particular passion for birds. He explores the confluence of the human and natural environment in urban settings and shares these places with the public through lectures, tours, and artistic collaborations. He has collaborated with artists such as Mary Miss, Nina Katchadourian, George Trakas, and others exploring urban design and natural history. He also is an illustrator and DJ. Since 2004, Willow has led bird and nature walks for adults and families as Wave Hill.
Location: Wave Hill House
Exhibition Date: January 30 - June 17, 2018
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