Call of the Wild
Introduction by Carey Vose
When I first met Cindy years ago, we had an immediate bond after discovering that we had both been wildlife majors at the University of Maine, but in the end we both chose to pursue our careers in the art world. While I loved the biological field work (from studying the mysterious lives of muskoxen in Alaska to re-populating a puffin colony off the coast of Maine), the intensive scientific methods and statistical analyses became tiresome to me.
Cindy, on the other hand, combined her two passions by illustrating a number of avian field guides starting in the late 1970s. Eventually, she felt illustration work did not allow her enough artistic freedom, so she spent the next thirty years expanding her knowledge and mastery of the pastel medium, capturing the quiet moments among the wild havens she so enjoyed exploring with her mother as a child. It is her hope that through her work, people will be inspired to help preserve and safeguard these undeveloped sanctuaries so that they might be there for future generations of both humans and feathered denizens alike.
Whether depicting the fields and marshes of New Hampshire, the craggy coastline of Maine, or the sandy dunes of Plum Island, Massachusetts, Cindy captures the subtle moods of a place in a transportive way. Her naturalist’s heart and artist’s eye are often first drawn to a location’s vegetation and its innate compositional elements, while also taking note of the fauna inhabiting a place, namely avian subjects, which she believes add life to each painting. She has come to know her subject matter intimately over years of close study, and has a gift for truthfully rendering the texture and color of an ecosystem in all seasons, for accurately portraying a bird’s physical traits as well as its behavior and movement, and for conveying the atmosphere of the environment.
The harmonious co-existence between the landscape and the birds are vital to the success of Cindy’s paintings. She has won numerous awards for her work, including being chosen for the Master Wildlife Artist designation at the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI in 2018, an honor that has been bestowed on less than forty artists since 1976.
My family and I are thrilled to introduce Cindy’s work through this retrospective exhibition of nearly fifty paintings, and in a year when Vose Galleries is celebrating our 180th anniversary in the art world. Her use of a time-honored medium and traditional methods in such innovative and beautiful ways truly fits with our mission of introducing and championing American realist artists.
A testament to her success, Cindy has garnered prestigious solo exhibitions at the Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon in Canton, Massachusetts and the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, as well as at a number of well-respected galleries. She has won the Prix de Pastel Award for the International Association of Pastel Societies in 2014, Master Pastelist status from the Pastel Society of America in 2017, and in 2018 she was featured as the Master Wildlife Artist at the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Woodson Art Museum, the Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon, The Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Bausch & Lomb, Inc, and in the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut.
Cindy is committed to truthfully rendering the tangible qualities of the birds and their environs, yet unlike the analytical drawings of specimens of her early career, her paintings are masterworks that stir the soul and transport the viewer to the place depicted: to the stillness of the forest’s edge, where the dense morning fog feels cool on our skin and we hear the flutter of a blackbird taking flight; to the sandy beaches among the din of a perpetual rhythmic tide, watching shorebirds wade among gathered pools; and to marshlands at dusk where tall grasses dance in the wind, so soft and welcoming we almost reach out to touch them.
A Mother's Influence
Cindy House grew up along the coast of Rhode Island's Mount Hope Bay, and she began exploring New England's abundant woodlands, meadows, and beaches at a young age with her mother, Mildred (Millie) House, a natural history teacher and published wildlife photographer. During these excursions, Cindy and her mother would take photos of the local flora and fauna they encountered and share the developed film in slide shows with their neighbors and friends. With no formal art training, Cindy holds that this experience was central to the development of her artist's eye: "It was through her eyes that I learned to see nature."
"[My mother] had a passion for the outdoors. She'd photograph flowers, insects, birds, anything, and send off the roll of film to Kodak. Weeks later, a little black-and-yellow box came in the mail...We'd put them in a carousel and the neighbors would come over for a look. These were my art classes. I learned to see through the lens of a camera."
The influence of Millie House's careful study of nature is apparent in all of Cindy's works. Following in her mother's footsteps, Cindy pays special attention to the avian life included in her paintings. After years of close study, she has a gift for truthfully rendering a bird's physical traits, behavior, and movement. For example, in a detail of Spring Stream below, the Eastern Phoebe songbird resting on the tree branch is easily identifiable by its dark peaked head and white chest.
'Cindy House: Preserving Nature's Splendor' will be viewable online & in the gallery October 9th - November 15th, 2021.
238 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116 - (617) 536-6176 firstname.lastname@example.org www.vosegalleries.com
Digital Catalog Design: Cecilia R. Christman
Writing: Carey L. Vose, Courtney S. Kopplin & Cecilia R. Christman
Photography & Videography: Gabriel J. Chevalier
© 2021 Vose Galleries, LLC. Rights reserved. The right to copy, photograph or reproduce the works of art identified herein is reserved by Cindy House.