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MCLA Gallery 51: Nest

NEST, curated by MCLA Assistant Professor of Art Melanie Mowinski, features work by Kate Barber, C.Ryder Cooley, Adrienne Gale, and Rosamond Purcell. The NEST theme evolved out of exploration of trees and the birds that make their homes in them. What are the comforts of these homes, why do animals leave them, and how does this compare to choices that people make in their lives about their homes? 

Within NEST, C. Ryder Cooley transforms a corner of Gallery 51 into a reliquary for rescued materials. Emerging from places of wilderness, post-industrial waste, pollution and decay, she creates a refuge for new marginal hybrid species. She also worked with a small group of students to bring together a collection of bird cages into an installation in the front window; reclaiming the cages and transforming them into nurturing spaces. 

Rosamond Purcell's photos are selections from her recent book Egg and Nest. She captures the intricacy of nests and the remarkable markings and shapes of bird eggs from the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology. 
Working in a combination of fiber arts and book arts, Adrienne Gale's work deals with language, specifically etymology and the connections that exist between words through their histories, using her own visual symbols of trees, roots, seeds, and nests.

With a similar combination of tools, Kate Barber also uses words to explore the human fascination and relationship with birds, including text that responds to the question: "what is it that you love about birds and when did you first discover this attraction?"

The exhibit includes a special benefit piece in honor of the curator's 40th birthday, which coincides with the opening of the exhibit. Forty ceramic birds, crafted by the curator and fellow artist Jackie Sedlock are available for $40 each. All proceeds from the sale of the birds go to the MCLA Non-Traditional Student Scholarship Fund.  For more information on the MCLA Non-Traditional Student Scholarship Fund please contact Nina Garlington in the MCLA Office of Institutional Advancement at 413.662.5220 or
In association with NEST, C. Ryder Cooley performed Animalia, as part of MCLA Presents! on November 18th 2009 at 7:30 p.m. in the Church Street Center. For tickets and more info on upcoming MCLA Presents events go to http//

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