With vintage maps and aged atlases as her guides, London-based artist Claire Brewster crafts airy and ethereal avian cut-outs. Her colorful collection of paper birds play with negative space and silhouettes to illustrate the elegant aesthetic of birds in flight.
Each figure features intricately carved feathers that appear to delicately flutter. With extended wings and alternating positions, the birds demonstrate the unique gestures of flying birds. To imply movement, Brewster displays her cut-outs by either tacking them directly on the wall or placing them in box frames. With their dainty wings and ornate incisions, the birds cast beautiful shadows behind them, hinting at three-dimensionality and making them look as if they are in motion. Brewster’s fascination with movement is also apparent in her use of maps and atlases, which represents the birds’ ability to “transcend borders and pass freely between countries.”
With this focus on birds and cartography, it is no surprise that Brewster is most inspired by the natural world. “Nature is ever present, even in the most urban environments, taking over wherever we neglect, living in a separate yet parallel universe,” she says on her website. “I take my inspiration from the natural environment, creating entomological installations of flora and fauna from imagined locations.” With no indicative backgrounds and few defining features, the birds appear to be objects of Brewster’s imagination, simultaneously exhibiting her interest in animals and her fanciful creativity.