With a name like Justin Gibbens, one might jokingly argue that Gibbens is pre-disposed to making art about wildlife. Strangely, no monkeys have shown up yet in his work, but his latest series, Birds of Paradise, centers around birds and represents them in a brand new way.
His watercolor and gouache depictions of birds on simple grayscale backgrounds are sure to scare the living daylights out of the hoards of people who are deathly afraid of birds. For individuals with a more reasonable grasp on reality, however, Gibbens’ work might actually be intriguing. They tenderly represent these prehistoric beasts in a nearly life-like way, and then force you to do a double-take as you realize that each bird actually might have three heads, or eight legs… and that the swimming Grebe actually looks more like a dragon or the Lochness Monster than it does a freshwater diving bird! Gibbens’ pieces are a fascinating look into a world of animals that might be mutated by toxicities, bred on foreign landscapes, or present in future times. Whatever the hypothesis, Gibbens has actually managed to make wildlife art exciting, and he’s to be lauded for it.
From now until April 18th, Gibbens’ work is on view at the G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle, showcased alongside four other artists who also have something to share about birds.