Bruce Silverstein Gallery is pleased to announce Randy West bird rabbit snake, a selection of photographic pigment-ink prints that explore the inner architectural structure of birds’ nests and the natural, woven building materials that comprise them. West executes the majority of his photo projects as series with marked attention to the form, material, and tactile quality of his subject— in this case the relevance of each blade of grass that make up the nests.
The title bird rabbit snake is drawn from the title of a children’s poem written by the artist which playfully hints to the motivation for this series—the shapes and lines animals create by their movements in the open fields and skies near his home in upstate New York. bird rabbit snake consists of two interconnected chapters: Reconstructions and Blades of Grass. In Reconstructions, West physically pulls apart the interlocking fibers from abandoned birds’ nests, scanning the deconstructed nest as fibers are removed. The nest is “reconstructed” as West superimposes these images onto one another, layering the images digitally.
In Blades of Grass, West explores the natural shapes of individual strands of dried grass that form and construct the nest. By further separating the nests’ fibers, he studies their shapes in more detail. Taken individually, one can see written characters, but seen as a group, a powerful visual language is born from the gestures of each line.
Drawing and printmaking have influenced much of West’s photographic career, and while he references abstract artists such as Cy Twombly, Brice Marden, and Harry Callahan, noting their attention to the quality of a line, he believes his work is not abstract.
Randy West earned his MFA at the California Institute of the Arts in 1986 and began his career in Los Angeles. West continues to create new series, and he is a faculty member and the director of operations at the School of Visual Arts in the MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department in New York City.