Member of the Month June 2018
Selection from the Envisioning Habitat series
Award winning photographer and artist Cheryl Medow focuses her lens on the avian world to heighten awareness of the importance of these sublime creatures. Since early childhood, whether tending chickens or mimicking the sound of birds, she has always had an affection toward these beautiful and sometimes prehistoric winged beings.
The first stage in creating her images is to be out in nature, travelling to places where the birds live. Sometimes it’s as close as her backyard. But more often, the requirement is to travel to places far from home, either familiar or to which she’s never been. While waiting for the moment to snap the picture, she enjoys the beauty of the environment, hopefully uninhabited by lots of people but full of greenery and the water the birds love. This allows her to see birds at home in their environment. Whether her subjects are looking for food, balancing on a tree branch, hiding from other predators in the bushes, building a nest, courting or even fighting for territory, these moments are fascinating and allow her an opportunity for her curiosity and imagination to find expression.
The second stage takes place in her studio. This is where the many images photographed in the field come together as new, imaginative scenes through the use of modern technology. A set of stormy clouds from the Galapagos, the landscape of Death Valley or the Masai Mara, the heightened color of the birds during mating season, the surreal result conjured by placing the bird somewhere it’s never been, all through the lens of Photoshop, are the tools she uses to composite and create her imagery.
The beauty she sees in nature is an element in every image she creates. She desires to share the beauty she sees with the hope that once the magnificence of this planet and its amazing creatures is seen, the desire to preserve and protect it will find expression in the viewer. We can all be stewards of a sublime environment in our everyday lives.
Santa Barbara photographic artist Cheryl Medow creates images that entice the viewer to enter the natural world and envision her wild birds in imaginary and real environments. Using classical and contemporary tools, Medow layers her photographs, weaving them together to create visual narratives.
Cheryl Medow’s background in the arts is diverse. Medow studied ceramics at the famed Chouinard Institute and received a BA in Art from UCLA, concentrating on life drawing with charcoal and pastels. Continuing her art education, she studied printmaking at Hand Graphics in Santa Fe, New Mexico and digital printmaking with Mac Holbert and John Paul Caponigro in Santa Barbara. With this classical training in the arts and her new found twenty-first century tools, including digital photography and Photoshop, Medow found her calling: traveling around the world searching for birds to photograph and creating new images in her studio. Both worlds engage and enhance her curiosity about birds and put her into the creative flow of life.
Since first exhibiting her work in 2006, Medow has received many accolades and her work is held in private collections and museums. There have been numerous articles written about her work including Proof.National Geographic – An Altered Reality by Becky Harlan and Inspire Adobe Photoshop For The Birds by Alyssa Coppelman. Medow was a featured artist in LensWork, #131 August 2017.
In 2018, Medow’s image Grey Crowned Cranes won the Best Of Show Award in the Altered Reality category in NANPA along with Two Snowys receivng the Judges’ Choice Award and will be featured in NANPA’s publication Expressions 2018 . Beginning July 20th, many of Medows Envisioning Habitats series prints will be on display at the Wildling Museum in Solvang, California.
Medow was included in Currents 2017 at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans juried by Richard McCabe in conjunction with PhotoNola as well as Avian – Birds In A Changing World at Gallery 5 juried by Sierra Art Trails and Audubon Yosemite in Oakhurst, Calfornia.
Medow is represented by PDNB Gallery in Dallas, Texas.
Medow hopes that by embracing her hyper-real bird images, her audience will also create more space for birds living on our planet and be mindful of the fragility and beauty of life itself.