Birdie Hamilton: an Accidental Retrospective, May 4-May 28, 2011. Springfield and Portland, Oregon: Ditch Projects and Fourteen30 Contemporary’s @937 Offsite Gallery, 2011.
Ditch Projects invites you to view the previously unseen work of Oregon sculptor Birdie Hamilton (circa 1935 – 2009). Birdie Hamilton’s sculptural work is balanced between minimalist perfection and Oregonian authenticity. Birdie gravitates toward the visual components of west coast minimalism, including floating surfaces, dissolving textures, and physical emptiness – minimal forms abstracted into air. And yet Birdie’s inspiration is taken from the central Oregon coastline, putting the forms of wave-polished timber in place of the highly glossed cars and surfboards preferred by her Finish Fetish peers. Sharing their obsession with reflective and malleable plastics, however, Birdie engages the potential for opening immaterial vistas within her sculptures, offering a view of the forest made absent. Birdie interrupts her translucent forms with rings and grains, the pattern of slow growth embedded within the appearance of plastic eternity. Birdie came to the attention of Ditch Projects through an accidental discovery by Ditch member Tim Meyer. In the spring of 2010, Tim was employed by White Glove Cleaning LLC, a company sub-contracted by All Safe Mini Storage, to clear All Safe’s central Lincoln City location. While working in the storage facility, Tim came across Birdie’s work in an abandoned storage locker, a collection of dusty objects wrapped carefully in felt. Unpacking the sculpture from the 12′ x 12′ unit, Tim found the work to be soundly intact, the components of sculptures named and sorted by a simple numbering system. The work was undated, although the numeric system offers a sequential trajectory. Storage records showed that Birdie had rented the space for 19 years, paying her rent in 2-year lumps through 2007. Ditch Projects, on Tim’s recommendation, purchased the work for the back rent due on the storage space.
Courtesy of Ditch Projects.
Artist Credit: Birdie Hamilton, Ditch Projects
Exhibition: Birdie Hamilton: an Accidental Retrospective, May 4-May 28, 2011