Painted: November 20, 2017
About the Bird: Often putting on a show as it lurks and stabs at fishes in the shallows of the Gulf Coast, the Reddish Egret is hard to miss. But because these large birds prefer estuaries to pure saltwater or freshwater, they're vulnerable to rising seas. Climate change will also bring increased spring heat waves that could endanger their young.
About the Artist: Matthew Woodward is an artist whose pieces have close connections to his home state of New York. His work usually begins with a historical object, often an architectural emblem, which he then removes from its context and distorts. By doing this, he attempts to call attention to an image that is impossibly familiar. By painting the Reddish Egret he chose a familiar yet age-old object too. Years ago, he spent some time in Florida, where the Reddish Egret is a resident. Egrets look timeless to him, he says, “like they have been born from a deep and unique reverence for the Earth, and as if they were a testament to that same wild and kindly unhurried spirit that had also moved us through.”