Spruce Grouse by Carmen Recio

Location: 607 W. 158th Street, New York, NY 10032

Painted: 07/21/23

About the Bird: True to its name, the Spruce Grouse lives in the conifer forests of the North Woods—the vast forested expanse reaching from the northern United States far into Canada. During breeding season the debonair males put on a show for the ladies: beating their wings, swishing their tails, and showing off their striking, bright red eyebrow combs.

The Spruce Grouse supplements its diet with insects and berries in summer; in winter, it eats only fir, spruce, and pine needles, actually growing its digestive organs to accommodate the low-protein food. It will be much more difficult for the species to adapt to a changing climate. At the current pace of global warming, the Spruce Grouse is projected to lose 86 percent of its summer breeding range; that loss could be capped at 50 percent if humans limit the rise in temperature to just 1.5 degrees Celsius.

About the Artist: Carmen Recio is a Venezuelan-born artist and educator based in New York City. A graduate of Fordham University, she has taught at various cultural institutions including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Children's Museum of the Arts. Recio's fascination for ever-changing environments like shorelines and national borders influences her painting, printmaking, collage, and sculpture. Her paintings are born out of the repetition of organic shapes and lines, and the spaces and rhythms created between them. These organic bodies inhabit the canvas, dancing, wandering, vibrating, balancing on one another, appearing and disappearing from the frame.

Through her artwork Recio aims to celebrate the underlying consciousness of life around us, growing and thriving in unlikely places. For her Audubon Mural Project installation, she chose to depict a male and female Spruce Grouse in a coniferous forest. The mural is a celebration of this solitary forager, persevering in a landscaped shaped by logging and climate change.