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Item Name: Drawing
Title: Blue Bird
Maker: Richard Gorenko
Year: 1980
Country: Canadian
Materials: mixed media
Measurements: in frame: 59 cm x 72 cm; work: 48 cm x 63 cm
ID Number: ART 085
Legal Status: ART RENTAL

Extended Label Info: Richard Gorenko is known for his prairie landscapes, often using a single horizontal line to denote the boundary between land and sky. Even though this early mixed-media artwork by Gorenko is visually much more abstract than his later works, the page is divided between a blue sky and the brown earth below. The title, “Blue Bird” is an entry point into Gorenko’s choice of subject matter: the blue, cross-like shape in the upper half of the composition resembles a flying bluebird, and the triangular form below it, a birdhouse. In the wild, Bluebirds rely on nesting in cavities such as abandoned woodpecker holes, but in the prairies, agricultural development has contributed to a loss of habitat and declining bird populations. To prevent Bluebird extinction, local farmers and bird lovers have been building nest boxes for Bluebirds since the 1920s. Richard Gorenko (1954- ) was born in Canora, Saskatchewan. He earned a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan in 1979, an MA from the University of Dallas in 1980, and an MFA from the University of Calgary in 1982. He has taught painting, drawing, and printmaking as a lecturer, professor, and artist-in-residence at various institutions, including the University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (Prince Albert), University of Victoria, and Alberta College of Art and Design (now Alberta University of the Arts) in Calgary. Currently based in British Columbia, Gorenko has exhibited nationally, and his artwork is held in private and public collections.