Derived from the Greek cathartes, roughly translating to “purifier,” Cathartidae is a body of work exploring the seven extant species of New World vultures that fall within the Cathartidae family. Drawing inspiration from the idea of the vulture as a purifier rather than a scavenger, the watercolor paint­ings seek to elevate these birds as integral agents within nature’s cycle. Each vulture exists centrally within a romantic, dark, and untamed atmosphere. At no point does the chaos surrounding the vulture over­whelm or subsume her—she remains the master and rests somber and sure. The vulture waits as a gatekeeper between the physical world and the phantasmal, tirelessly maintaining the cycle of life and death as she redistributes the energy of lives passed on. The vulture does not lurk, eagerly anticipating devouring rotted flesh. She possesses a glory and a dignity, not afforded her in traditional Western perceptions. The face and talons of each vulture radiate a visceral energy, a departure from the body’s regal and controlled poise. The eyes peer deeply and unforgivingly at the viewer, and prominent talons illustrate a power and potential for violence which exac­erbates the stare.

Each painting is enclosed within hand-carved wood frames which borrow their stylization from Dutch auricular frames. The motifs and mark-making within the frames echo those found within the paintings, while also creat­ing a physical reality that augments the illusion built within.

  • Bfa1 Abbreviated Saint

    Coragyps atratus, Abbreviated Saint
    Watercolor
    2019

  • Bfa2 Melancholic Saint

    Cathartes aura, Exquisite Recompense
    Watercolor
    2020

  • Bfa3 Golden Arbiter

    Cathartes burrovianus, Golden Arbiter
    Watercolor
    2020

  • Bfa4 Exquisite Recompense

    Vultur gryphus, Rotted Saint
    Watercolor
    2020

  • Bfa5 Rotted Saint

    Sarcoramphus papa, Melancholic Saint
    Watercolor
    2020