Sidestreet Arts is going to the birds with their May feature show, “Blooms, Birds, & Bugs,” which opens Thursday, May 4 and runs through Sunday, May 28. As the cold rains of April clear away, experience new beginnings with four very different artists. Ha Austin, Melody Bush, Anna Magruder and Jackie McIntyre present their interpretations of spring, leaving viewers feeling ebullient and ready to welcome the sunshine in.
Ha Austin is inspired by the nature and scenery she sees right outside her window during her travels and while surfing the internet. She creates her porcelain tableware both on and off the potter’s wheel, making beautiful functional ware designed for daily use. She decorates her forms by drawing, painting underglazes and carving on the greenware to create whimsical designs. Since she mixes her own glazes and fires the pieces in a kiln to 2,350 degrees, her ceramics are dishwasher and microwave safe.
Melody Bush discovered using books to make art by accident. In 2018 she was looking to purchase a t-shirt to wear in the school library where she worked and came across a book with the edges folded into the word “READ.” After some research, she discovered book art and began creating her own works of art by hand, one page at a time. When carving books, she uses an Xacto blade or scalpel. All the books she alters are used and primarily older books that only have illustrations. Books about flowers and birds are her favorites.
Anna Magruder’s favorite subjects are people, animals and whatever lies between. Drifting between realism and surrealism, she explores vintage America, re-imaging the lives and stories of characters on canvas or just exploring the emotional color of faces. Her attraction to faces, people and the stories behind them is a consistent theme in her work. A mild deficiency in her own ability to recognize faces influences her focus on facial features in art as a way of working through this and exploring what makes each person unique.
Jackie McIntyre first started painting crows a few years ago. Watching, photographing and then painting them has helped McIntyre to realize just how intelligent they are. All of her paintings are derived from her own photographs. Through her work, she has been fascinated to learn that people either love or hate these amazing creatures and she enjoys hearing crow stories people tell her when they see her art. Her love of crows led her to install a backyard bird feeder, leading to a wider appreciation of all the local birds that come to feed from it.
Sidestreet Arts, 140 SE 28th Ave., is open Thursday-Sunday 12-5 pm and online at sidestreetarts.com. Meet the artists and chat with them about their inspirations and ideas behind their artwork in the gallery for the First Friday Artwalk 5-7 pm on May 5.
Top photo: Complete Illustrated Thornburn’s Birds – Melody Bush