Joan Webster-Vore has devoted her career to close observation of nature. The artist, who lives with her husband across from a cornfield in rural Hudson, Iowa, often paints en plein air by bodies of water and works with natural and inorganic materials to build complex three-dimensional structures that incorporate painting and drawing. In her latest installation, Passing By, the artist has turned her attention to the passenger pigeon, a species that numbered in the billions in North America prior to the 19th century and was officially recorded as extinct little more than a century ago, in 1914.
The plight of the passenger pigeon and the story surrounding its demise inspired Webster-Vore to begin a new series of artworks addressing the continuing threat of species extinction. In Passing By, the artist transforms delicate avian remnants into an immersive, contemplative space, mimicking the pigeons’ flight pattern in a series of powerful waves that culminate in a tragic end. The installation mixes direct representation with more subtle expressions of the meaning of extinction using tactile materials and laborious hand-building processes.
Joan Webster-Vore grew up in Rockford, Illinois. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a B.F.A. in Art, an M.A. in Textile Design from the Department of Home Economics, and an M.F.A. in Design from the School of Art and Art History. Her work has appeared in numerous competitive, invitational, and solo exhibitions both nationally and regionally.