Flock is an installation of over 100 ceramic birds by artist Julie Nelson. It recently settled in a 14th century monastery, owned by Alex Macarthur, in the historic town on Rye from the 16th September 2017 during Rye Festival.
The work was originally conceived for installation in an elegant Edwardian house on Grand Avenue, Hove, UK, for one weekend in May, 2017, during Brighton Festival.
Julie is a regular exhibitor at Cameron Contemporary Arts gallery in Brighton.
The installation is not intended to be political, but visitors will take away from it as much cultural and sociological significance that they bring to it. Some may see themes of displacement, migration, national identity and what it means to be part of a community. For others the work will have cinematic undertones. The city has a strong and sometimes uneasy relationship with birds, from the murmurations of the Pier's starlings, to the constant sound of seagulls that share the built environment.
Each ceramic bird has been hand sculpted by the artist over a number of months. Their shapes have evolved over this period and different characteristics have become apparent. Some forms have been more aesthetic than others but all have been included. "Flock reminds us of the parts that make up the whole - a theme that runs through all of nature. From the four molecules that make up a strand of DNA, to the cells that make up a tissue, to the tissues that make up an organ which in turn make up bodies, families, communities nations and states. Seen from afar they are all the same. From a distance the birds look almost identical, but up close, each bears hand-etched grooves and markings as well as unique poses. Some are poised, some quizzical and others may seem menacing.”
My first set of birds were commissioned not long after moving to the south coast from London after watching their activities over the sea and land. I have now created many different varieties and the theme continues to interest me. It encompasses evolution, the relationship between objects, organic forms, group behaviour, response to landscape, and patterns in nature.