P L A I N   A I R

PLAIN AIR 1969 PDF Catalogue

This work originated in 1969, though initially not conceived as art. The gift of a pair of Ring-necked Mourning doves lead to the design of their environment. The doves were given free rein of my studio. A bicycle wheel was hung for a perch. It spun whenever they landed and the birds rested and slept there. A Zen archer’s target was nailed the floor to catch droppings. It became a piece a few months later when the birds constructed a nest made from wire and string from the studio and hair from my brush. An egg was hatched in it and in the spring when the chick was old enough, the birds flew away. The material trace of the work, resides in photographs, the 1969 bronze and silver casts of broken eggshells and the target that was later hung on the wall as a painting.

After the Boston Museum School presentation, the first public exhibition was at Sandra Gering Gallery, New York twenty years later. In 1990 it was presented at the Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh where the elements were increased to a 48-inch bicycle wheel, a 60-inch archer’s target and sizeable Roller pigeons that tumble or roll in the air. Two eggs were hatched this time. The chicks were learning to fly when the exhibition closed. The parents with their young were returned to the breeder. In 1991 at a yet larger space in PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, everything was doubled, this time with four Flight pigeons, a pair of wheels, targets and nests. A week before closing, the windows were opened and after a few days the birds departed. This was my first sound sculpture: after eating and ritualistic preening, each bird flew to a wooden ceiling-support in each corner of the room and began a cooing cycle. After three quarters of an hour their out-of-phase rounds came into sync, eventually winding into a hypnotic crescendo. A pause followed, then softly they started again. This pattern repeated many times over a period of a couple of hours each afternoon.

Dove Bradshaw




  Plain Air, 1969
Installation: Sandra Gering Gallery,  New York, 1989
Edition of 10, 1969/89; transparency 
111/4 x 17 inches; Collections: I, Ursula Hodel, Zurich; II, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Feinstein, New York



  Plain Air, 1969
Flight pigeon between bicycle wheel
and recreation of a Zen archer's target
PS1 Contemporary Art Center, LIC, New York, 1991
  Following images:
PS1 Contemporary Art Center, LIC, New York, 1991