by Brenda Sipe
Media: Mixed Media
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Inspiration for Birds of a Feather
Representing inclusiveness on several levels, (mental, physical, racial, societal), this piece revisits the “Birds of a Feather” I created for ArtPrize 2010 in Grand Rapids with birds made by 171 children. This was a piece I dreamed about in 2009, and envisioned it near the Grand River, where it was eventually placed.
This is a site-specific willow structure, literally woven from nature, connected, or near some element of the street architecture, such as a street lamp, garden, fence, or wall. Birds “swirl” around in cage formation. Cage structure holds approximately 50 clay birds painted bronze, made by the artist and based on my interpretation of Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing”. Though apparently fragile like societal structures, the branches are also strong, and birds are displayed on the branches both inside and outside the cage.
Brenda Sipe, originally from Berne, Indiana, is an artist whose works with both traditional and explorative materials are heavily influenced by nature. Her interests and background in fiber and 3-dimensional design have merged in recent sculptures literally “woven” from nature. She works equally fluently with paint, on fiber, canvas, and paper. Her work evolves experimentally with pieces being reworked multiple times to achieve the final result. Her focus is on the metaphors inherent in the work, which leads her to goal of clarity of vision and purpose.
Recently, she completed a sculptural commission for the BRAINS Foundation. She has been part of numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the Midwest. In 1996 she traveled to Cluj-Napoca, Romania, where her paintings and sculptures were installed in a group exhibition, Deschideti, U.S.A., at Academia De’Arte. Brenda has a B.F.A. in Painting from Grand Valley State University, and a M.F.A. in Painting from Michigan State University.