Thursday, August 23, 2012

Prey & Predator

McGowan Fine Art announces the opening of “Prey and Predator" featuring the paintings of Adelaide Murphy Tyrol. The show will run from September 4 through October 5, with an artist’s reception on September 7 from 5 to 7 PM. This is free and open to the public.

Painting quietly in Northern Vermont, artist and naturalist Adelaide Murphy Tyrol has always sought inspiration from landscape and animals. Her most recent fascination resulted from a birthday gift from her husband - attending the British School of Falconry. The school is the oldest on the East Coast but the sport is even older, reaching its zenith in 17th century Europe before being supplanted by firearms. It is a sport associated with prestige, wealth and much mystery. ‘The heraldry and mythology of it are appealing to me,” says Tyrol. “The hoods are used to cover their eyes to help calm down these high anxiety birds but they are also extremely decorative, rivaling the birds’ beauty.” 

While exploring the world of falcons Adelaide is also exploring new techniques. She is using a manmade paper called Yupo, created for commercial packaging. It  has been co-opted by artists for its ability to resist paint and create very crisp edges. Using sumi ink as her paint Adelaide takes advantage of these properties. In “Jessed” which refers to the tethers on a falcon’s ankles, crisp lines define the bird’s powerful silhouette and steely eyes engage the viewer with hard detail. Adelaide then uses muddled ink and soft washes to give the illusion of feathers or the motion of the jesses dangling beneath the bird. The whole painting is a study in contrasts. It is exquisitely rendered but leaves the viewer unsettled- compelled to look at this half tamed creature. It is a confrontation of our own limits over the natural world.

Ms Tyrol has turned her attention to other animals also. In “Pray” a small mouse fills the space with its apprehensive, wide eyed stare while being shadowed by the ominous wings of a raptor. It is a portrait of beauty and terror. “I tried to capture the hyper vigilant state of prey animals,” referring to a portrait with an ermine sitting upright, its white fur set off by a feathery background pattern. In “Blue Eyed Raven” she created a classic three quarter portrait of a Corvid from a singular colony of whiteravens in British Columbia. All of the birds have blue eyes. “It is the only color I included in the whole show. Those blue eyes are so arresting.”

People will be drawn in by the bold imagery but mesmerized by Ms. Tyrol’s technique.

This exhibit will be on display at McGowanFine Art, 10 Hills Avenue, Concord, NH. Hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 to 6 PM; Saturday 10-2 or by appointment. Please call Sarah Chaffee at 603-225-2515 for more information or visit our website at

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