This was a series of paintings I did halfway through my year 13 painting class, as part of my final painting board. The theme for my board as a whole was the way that humans perceive the forest, how we take nature and create a whole world of symbolism and deeper meaning within it. As such, most of my work for Year 13 painting combined realistic portrayals of forests and animals, and more stylized art focusing on mythology and legend.

Conceptually this series on birdcages explores the theme of trying to cage and capture nature, and how this is impossible. This is shown by the creatures and nature escaping. These paintings could also be interpreted as a commentary of our imagination of the forest. In the painting with the red birdcage, the landscape and animals escape not from the cage, but from the book.

A major inspiration for these paintings was the work of New Zealand artist Susanne Kerr, who creates highly detailed symbolic paintings. The dreamlike combination of escape and capture is shown in Kerr’s “Unfolding” series. Kerr uses crows and ravens around the birdcages in her work, and I used the birds as they were an important artistic motif in my board. To add balance and repeat my subject matter, and I also colored the cages different colors to add variety to the series of works.