About the Photographer
American, b. 1971
Rather than settling for what nature has to offer, I have taken control and adorned the trees with their longed for, but absent, tenants. —Paula McCartney
In Paula McCartney’s series Bird Watching, densely wooded landscapes are enlivened, ironically, by brightly colored craft store songbirds. While the deceit is more obvious in some pictures than others, these faux fowl punctuate their environments both as formal elements—carefully arranged amid the arc and curve of brush and branches—and as a curious construction that offers an idealized vision of nature undercut by a gentle satire of that ideal. Expected to be a two-year project, McCartney began the Bird Watching series in 2003, and released a book with the same title, co-published by Princeton Architectural Press and the MoCP, in 2010.
Paula McCartney completed a Certificate in Photography from the International Center of Photography, New York (1996), a BFA from Empire State College, New York (1998), and an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute (2002). She is the recipient of a 2007 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Photographers, a 2005 Women’s Studio Workshop Artists’ Book Production Grant and a 2004 Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship Grant. Solo exhibitions include Ornithological Interpretations at Rochester Art Center, Rochester, MN, Bird Watching at Women’s Studio Workshop, Rosendale, New York, and Constructed Landscapes at 364 Hayes Street Contemporary Art, San Francisco. Her work is also held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Arts Commission; and Stanford University, Palo Alto, California.