All work: acrylic, pencil, and watercolor crayon on canvas (2007-2008)
I started painting crows after being asked to recall my first memory of beauty. Clouds of starlings shifting over Virginia’s dry, winter hills came to mind. I was in Vancouver at the time and crows—rather than starlings—were on my horizon. Every morning tens of thousands of crows descend upon the city to scavenge. Every afternoon they lift in dark clouds and return to their suburban roosts. Crows are often considered ominous. A gathering is called a murder. Yet among birds, they strike me as most human: playful, dark, noisy, intelligent, strange, watchful, social, conditioned and co-evolving.
In one of his aphorisms, Franz Kafka says,
"The crows maintain that a single crow could destroy the heavens.
There is no doubt of that, but it proves nothing against the heavens,
for heaven simply means: the impossibility of crows."
If heaven means the impossibility of crows, perhaps he really means the impossibility of heaven—maybe in light of humanity. The world can feel this way, overwhelmingly: one always betrays the good (Kafka). So we do things to remind ourselves of the possibility of the good, the possibility of heaven—a heaven with crows: all in all. This is the reason for “The Possibility of Crows,” recollections of first beauty. Hope.