Thursday, April 15, 2010

David Tomb: Borderland Birds

It's no secret, San Francisco artist and twitcher David Tomb has a thing for the winged, bipedal, endothermic, egg-laying, tetrapod vertebrate class, Aves. When asked, "Why birds?" Tomb replies "Well, birds are the bees’ knees! They can fly and they are the closest living relatives to dinosaurs. What else do you want?" and then goes on to describe a gothic memory from childhood involving vultures sunning their wings.

There is something about this image, and the nature of lore as engendered by memory, that faithfully describes Tomb's quality of painting. His watercolors are true to their ephemeral nature, the birds often poised in limbo, pending, the visible pencil sketch below urging gesture. Tomb is a studious form seeker, combing field research, live bird drawing (an admirable trait for such a kinetic subject), and sketching from real deal stills. His haunts outside the field include the California Academy of Sciences, UC Berkeley, and the Los Angeles Natural History Museum.

The show at Electric Works opens tomorrow, Friday April 16th, and will include both works on paper and installation inspired from birding trips to the Southwest and Mexico -- the "borderland". His winged subjects include the Montezuma Quail, Aztec Thrush, Aplomado Falcon and the racoon-like coati. Read the interview by Sona Avakian in its entirety at The Examiner. Take a tour of the artist's converted police station home and studio at Apartment Therapy (simply stunning). And I'll see you tomorrow!

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