Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus respublica) is a small, forest-dwelling bird of paradise endemic to two islands, Batanta and Waigeo, off the NW coast of New Guinea's Vogelkop Peninsula. Here a male busies himself preparing a display-ground, where he will perform his courtship rituals. I've never seen this species before, and relied on observations of a close relative, the Magnificent Bird of Paradise (C. magnificus) to create this piece.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I just completed a new stop-motion painting video. This one records the formation of a male Poison Rock Frog (Rana hosii) calling from a flooded spiny bamboo (Bambusa sp.). Poison Rock Frogs are common along fast-moving forest streams from southern Thailand through Sumatra and Borneo to western Java. While on the subject of herpetological subjects, Bay-area artist Larnie Fox reports that his 40-foot "Giant Snake" is seeking a good home. Originally commissioned by Coyote Point Museum, the sound and light sculpture was ultimately rejected for display, due to a misunderstanding about code issues. Larnie says the snake "was made mostly of elements from an older sound sculpture, Airliner, which I showed at The Lab gallery in San Francisco in 2003. It was built with bamboo and recycled plywood and many other recycled materials. Each segment has a motorized sound component and an electrical light component. It has been thoroughly checked by an electrician, (thanks Kent!) was found to be very safe and pretty much fireproof."Above is Larnie's original sketch of the sculpture, and below is a video of the head in action. The finished piece features a deep, booming sound in association with this action. Photos of some of the snake's components can be seen here. Larnie is willing to donate the piece to a willing museum, gallery, or other space and help with the installation. If you're interested, contact him through his website.

Finally, a reminder that there's still time to get in on the upcoming ART OF THE MANGROVES touring exhibition. Interested and excellent visual artists are encouraged to get started on artwork depicting mangrove communities, and to email me at carelbvk AT gmail DOT com to get on the list. More information is available here.
upper: CALL OF THE MONSOON (2008) acrylic 10" x 8"
lower: DUSKY-GILLED MUDSKIPPERS (2008) acrylic 9" x 13"