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Where are the birds? Retracing Audubon: Artwork by Krista Elrick

Jun 4, 2021 - Nov 6, 2021

Krista Elrick; Cincinnati Bluffs, OH.

Where are the birds? Retracing Audubon: Artwork by Krista Elrick is an exhibition and book project reexamining John James Audubon’s epic life journey and the production of his beloved tome, The Birds of America. While the name of Audubon is familiar and the drawings he created are still wildly popular, his eloquent writings are less well known. Where are the birds? Retracing Audubon features contemporary photographs made by Krista Elrick of the American landscapes in which Audubon traveled 200 years ago. Also included are quotes from Audubon’s journals and entries Elrick made in her own travel notebooks two centuries later.

American bomb crater on reef, Wotje Island, Wotje Atoll, Marshall Islands_Matthew Arnold

Krista Elrick; Egret Gaterland, FL.

Japanese pillbox dislodged by the sea, Taroa Island, Maloelap Atoll, Marshall Islands_Matthew Arnold

Krista Elrick; Botany Bay, SC.

Artist’s Statement

My photographic contribution to Audubon scholarship begins with an image made of the Lovers Rock at Mill Grove [Montgomery County, Pennsylvania], the secret place where Lucy [Blackwell] and John James [Audubon]secured their life-long partnership. At the bluffs of Cincinnati my collage reflects Audubon’s feelings, “without any money my talents are to be my support, my enthusiasm, my guide.” Here he began his historic float on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers into New Orleans in 1820. Another key image is of the Three Buttes Ranch in Montana, where I found that cattle and natural gas rigs replace the wild landscape in which Audubon camped to hunt bison and bear. Such unexpected and ironic changes that have occurred in the landscape he described and depicted make this documentation all the more poignant and revelatory.

– Krista Elrick

Japanese built seawall, Aineman Island, Jaluit Atoll, Marshall Islands_Matthew Arnold

Krista Elrick; Joyce Kilmer Forest, NC.

About the Artist

Photographer Krista Elrick is interested in the changes that have occurred in natural ecosystems over prolonged periods of time as a direct result of human intrusion into the landscape. Film-based, in-camera exposures, combined with silver gelatin prints, are the foundation of her creative work. While her photographic process is rooted in the nineteenth century, it is today’s wetlands, forests, and watersheds that serve as her backdrop. In tandem, migratory birds and the ecosystems that sustain them are the focus of her current body of work. She sees these once harmonious relationships as disrupted. Because of this disruption, she photographs the land in fragments and then construct collages to create newly pieced dynamics.

Elrick’s recent projects include Imagine a City that Remembers: The Albuquerque Rephotography Project, by Anthony Anella and Mark Childs, foreword by V. B. Price, photographs by Krista Elrick (University of New Mexico Press 2018); and Grasslands/Separating Species, with photographs by Krista Elrick, Dana Fritz, David Taylor, Jo Whaley, and Michael Berman with essays by Mary Anne Redding, William deBuys, and Rebecca Solnit (Radius Books 2010) in conjunction with an exhibition at 516 ARTS in Albuquerque.

Elrick received an MFA from Arizona State University in 1990.

Video & Connections: Exhibition Guide

Gallery Walk-through Video (Above)

Lunch & Learn Presentation (Below)

The jungle, Enedrik-Kan Island, Milli Atoll, Marshall Islands_Matthew Arnold

The artist taking flight in her studio, Santa Fe, NM.

Press Telegram 3 July 1937

Krista Elrick; New York City, NY.

Additional Images

Flickr – Installation images


Jun 4, 2021
Nov 6, 2021
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Gallery B