Looking at these Elizabeth Atterbury lithographs, I was initially convinced that the various vegetation were the focal points of these pieces, which is still true to a degree. Sifting through the images further however, I noticed the silhouette of a talon on a tree bark and realized what Atterbury had done: she erased the images of birds from existing lithographs to create this perplexing series.
Though Elizabeth Atterbury was meticulous, viewers can still faintly make out the shape of each avian creature, which ultimately adds charm to her work. Viewers have to use their imaginations to envision where and what each bird looks like in the blank spaces, producing mental pictures that I’m sure are vastly more interesting than the original renderings. Who knew the phrase “addition by subtraction” could be demonstrated pragmatically?
Absent Bird Art
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