Bird art migrates to Musselman Browsing Room

A piece of the Avian Flew! exhibit by Peter Morgan, now on display in the Musselman Library Browsing Room. Photo courtesy of gettysburg.edu

A piece of the Avian Flew! exhibit by Peter Morgan, now on display in the Musselman Library Browsing Room. Photo credit gettysburg.edu

By Kira Goodwin, Staff Writer

Musselman Library has recently added a collection of bird art to the Browsing Room on its main floor. This art, which is predominantly noticeable in the form of large bird sculptures, is a collection cleverly titled The Avian Flew by its artist Peter Morgan.

Morgan created the collection of paintings and sculptures in order to combine his two lifelong passions: birds and art. Furthermore, he had the goal of showing the diversity of birds in North America. However, according to Morgan, there are over 700 different bird species in North America. Therefore, the sculptures in this collection are primarily from a series of his work entitled The Birds of Philadelphia.

Thus, the majority of the birds on display are from our region. Morgan states, however, that the birds that are clearly not from our region, such as the puffins, are meant to serve as a reminder of the diversity of birds around the world.

Morgan had fun with his displays, as he tried to recreate the experience of seeing puffins within a puffin colony as they are lined in a crowded and disorganized manner atop one of the bookshelves. As for the larger bird sculptures, each one is labeled with a little sign that not only says what type of bird it is but names the birds so that their name begins with the same letter as their species name does. For example, one bird’s sign reads, “Beatrice the Belted Kingfisher.” And continuing with his fun, instead of a bland “do not touch” sign, his plaques read: “Please do not feed or touch the birds!”

The ceramic bird sculptures are greatly enlarged, which allows the viewer to enjoy the details on the birds that they may not have ever been able to notice before because not only are birds constantly moving, but they are very small. It also gives the viewer a new appreciation for the beauty of birds, even ones as common as pigeons.

On top of the sculptures there are also a number of paintings of individual birds. Most of them are on solid backgrounds and perched upon something, making the bird the entire focus of the painting, which is a nice contrast to how birds are usually just in the background of another scene.

At the center of it all, there is a painting of a group double-crested cormorants fishing and sitting out on the water. Having this at the center draws the onlooker into the whole scene, primarily due to the fact that the water is sparkling. So, if you had not noticed the collection at first, you are practically guaranteed to notice this center painting, and after that your eyes will wander to the rest.

All in all, this addition of art is very calming, and looking around at the art while you are taking a break from your studies may be a nice, peaceful way to get your mind off of your work for a moment while you enjoy the culture.

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