Songs From My Mother's Sky

Fort Wayne Museum of Art
Fort Wayne, IN
January 2007

This piece emerged as a part of an ongoing series of gestures in memory of my mother, Florence McCoy.  Following her passing in 2003, I began constructing physical spaces that sought to simultaneously reflect something of her spirit, and to function as a prayer. Within each of the ’prayers’, the presence of birds has been central.  "Song’s" consists of a small post and beam structure filled with immaculately crafted birdhouses that stand in for living birds.  Each birdhouse was hand made from recovered Maple and Oak:  each fitted together with the care given to fine furniture.  Sounds of birds recorded from the landscape in which my children were conceived and born, were mixed with the sounds of Mockingbirds from my mother’s home...   this ’mix’ emerges from within the birdhouses.

For my mother, and for myself, birds are evocative of a kind of freedom that is chosen and actively pursued. Birds are music.   Flight.

Materials include: cream colored translucent fabric, structure (5’ X 8’ X 7’ high) composed of poplar and basswood beams, sixty pounds of roasted coffee beans on the floor.   Not pictured are the sounds of the Pacific Ocean woven into the murmur of morning traffic in Los Angeles, Ca., a train pulling into the station, and a distant helicopter serving as a backdrop to the night songs of a mockingbird among a chorus.