EXHIBITION:Barry Herem: Wood. Glass. Paper. Steel.
This print is both an art and an environmental statement. Its original reference was to the controversy surrounding preservation of the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest, a bird which can survive only in old growth forests thus pitting its preservation and that of old growth forests against the forest industry. This work is on the side of the birds and the woods. It has also become a symbol of species preservation generally.
In typical Northwest Coast Indian graphic design style “Guardian” represents a stylized and transforming, half-human, half-owl creature capable of taking bothhuman and bird form, the border between man and beast being highly permeable and imaginary: our fates are linked. As is often true of this stylized system of portraiture there is virtually no attempt at actual realism.
The human face is transformed by lips turning into a beak. Above, the spotted tail stands over a pair of spread wings. Human hands with an overlay of trees extend in a questioning and vulnerable gesture. More of the forest is daintily held aloft by the talons of the owl which emerge from its bent arm/wings.
“Guardian” is a limited-edition serigraph (silk screen) printed on 100% cotton rag paper. It was printed by Jim Hunziker of Vashon Island, Wa. in conjunction with the artist.