"A bird on the wing can be so ephemeral as to seem hallucinatory — no sooner has the brain received "rose-breasted grosbeak(?)" from the eye than the scarlet flash has dissolved into the trees. A hummingbird may not literally be quicker than the neural pathways that process it, but its passage is rapid enough to distort sight, to read as a streak in the sky rather than a fixed, fluttering point.
Vermont-based artist Nissa Kauppila explores the transitory relationship between the bird, the brain, and the eye in her series in gouache. Feathered bodies distend in long, comet-like trails; vaporous wings and pointed feet bleed across the page like the lingering, smokey residue of a small explosion. Kauppila's paintings are faithful not to the anatomy of a great blue heron or a wood duck, but to what it's like to experience those species, briefly and gloriously. Her work isn't as literal as James Audubon's, but it's just as true." - Ben Goldfarb, Sage Magazine
Kauppila's immersion in Chinese painting has awakened a sense of fragility; her work explores the use of line and color as tendrils of tension while embodying a sense of wonderment for the natural and industrial worlds. She challenges the notion of context, forcing the viewer to confront the abrupt beauty of life and death through the explosive movements in color, line and depth.