Elizabeth Turk | Cheekwood Estate & Gardens
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Drawing inspiration from the songs of three endangered Tennessee birds: the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, the Golden-winged Warbler, and the King Rail, this sculptural grouping represents the birds through elegant, totemic sound columns. Turk frequently commemorates the calls of endangered and extinct birds in her work by using printouts of the sound waves they generate(d) during song. Working with recordings archived by the Macaulay Library of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Turk enlarges the sound wave images, reorients them from horizontal to vertical, and then painstakingly reproduces them in a variety of materials to manufacture her totems. These towering forms create a forest of fabricated objects wherein the scarce and lost voices of birds can be visualized and heard once more.

Known for her marble sculpture, Echoes of Extinction series, and immersive art events, Turk is a MacArthur Fellow, a Smithsonian Artist Fellow, and a recipient of the Annalee & Barnett Newman Foundation award along with many others. Turk received her MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, Rinehart School of Sculpture in 1994 and her BA from Scripps College, Claremont, CA in 1983.

Elizabeth Turk (American, b. 1961), 2023, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Golden-winged Warbler, and King Rail (Endangered Birds of Tennessee), Anodized aluminum, Museum purchase, 2022.2-4.

This sculpture is part of the

Red-cockaded Woodpecker

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Golden-winged Warbler

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King Rail

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