Malcolm Moran: A Bird Rested Upon His Thoughts

3 - 26 February 2011

in his own words_


There is nothing new in the notion that the seat of deep meaning in life resides in the unconscious, which is meant to house and protect all that is under its care. It is not as widely accepted, however, that it is possible or even useful to access the unconscious, much less have a daily conversation with it. This really is why I paint and draw, sitting for hours on the floor of my studio with charcoal and paint in hand.


This show of birds has its own set of stories that expresses aspects of my own experience. One such story led to my first bird image. While on rout to visit a dear friend who was dying of cancer at her home in the now famous Ninth Ward of New Orleans, I happened upon a bird looking intensely at itself in a puddle of water. The puddle was formed in a pothole, in the middle a decrepit street, in a battered neighborhood, leading to a home made beautiful by the woman dying within it. The bird blocked my passage, forcing me to wait and look until he was ready to move. I have never known an animal to be narcissistic, least of all birds. I have never heard of a bird getting carried away with its self, but this bird did. I believe he was so mesmerized as to forget his natural drive to flee. He seemed more human than birdlike, and the scene had the feeling of an omen or a dream. The exact meaning of this story is unclear, but I will tell you my dear friend died, her husband was murdered some months later, and their house and neighborhood were destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. The connection of these events and the image of that bird lingers, revealing, with mysterious clarity, a reason and a purpose to this story. To this day I have felt compelled to create and recreate the image of birds, present yet so lost in their “bird self”.