Valerie Hird

Origin of Birds

June 25 – July 26

Opening reception: June 25, 6-9 p.m.


“Origin of Birds” is Valerie Hird’s interpretation of a 15th century Persian poem, and the third exhibition in her new mythologies series. This is her first time showing “Origin of Birds” as a stand-alone body of work.

The“Genesis Tree,” a site-specific tree installation created for the window of MCLA Gallery 51, displays nearly 3,000 color-coded origami elements. Within the Gallery, a wall installation of 12 oil paintings, entitled “The Fifth Day,” depicts a primordial matrix that links birds with the natural elements.

Many of the works in “Origin of Birds” are freestanding or horizontal scrolls created with watercolor, gold leaf, oil paint, rug yarn, and Afghani amulets. Hird uses patterns and labyrinth motifs to make the connection between natural beings and processes, with a repeating theme of the elements: sky, sea, earth and fire.

Primarily working in oil and watercolor, Hird, a native of Vermont, is deeply influenced by her travels to the Middle East and Central Asia. She explained that her work is rooted in multiple cultures. The nomadic icons she uses are filtered through her own cultural roots to create a transcultural and transnational hybrid that she hopes reject a simple binary East/West interpretation.