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Friday, September 29, 2023


Exhibition takes flight at Blaffer

The Blaffer Gallery unveiled Jean Luc Mylayne’s first exhibition in the U.S. on Friday, which features larger-than-life photographs of various species of birds.

Through his large photographs, Mylayne allows viewers to simulate the looking process: they feel as though they are standing inside the picture.

For his work, Mylayne invented 50 lenses that capture different perspectives in each photograph. The images shift in and out of focus, causing the eye to continuously take in the whole picture.

"(He) views himself as a director and the birds as actors. (He) waits for the actors to pose," Jeffrey Bowen, assistant director of External Affairs at the Blaffer Gallery said.

The exhibit displays about 20 photographs of various birds, from the more hummingbirds and bluebirds, to juncos, a medium-sized sparrow found in the eastern U.S.

In conjunction with Jean Luc Mylayne, Michael Gitlin’s film, The Birdpeople, will be shown outdoors at 8 p.m. today in the quadrangle near the Moores School of Music and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center.

Gitlin documents birdwatchers and ornithologists, people who study birds, in search of the ivory-billed woodpecker, a bird "feared to be extinct."

Gitlin sees the ivory-billed woodpecker as "an iconic bird" that was last found in east Texas near Houston.

"It seems to have want to exist in wild places, and places that are kind of underdeveloped," Gitlin said about why people are drawn to the crow-sized bird.

About seven or eight years ago, or eight years ago, and at first he saw it as separate from his life as a filmmaker.

"I pretty quickly began to see that in fact it wasn’t separate from making films. It was quite similar to making films, in that they both involve this concentrated act of seeing," Gitlin said.

The film shows the relationship America has to the wildness: on one hand, it’s treasured, while on the other it’s eliminated.

People find the ivory-billed woodpecker to have a romantic quality, and shortly after The Birdpeople was shown in early 2005, bird organizations announced they had found the ivory-billed in the swamps of Arkansas. Since those initial sightings, no one has seen the bird.

The screening, presented by the Aurora Picture Show, Blaffer Gallery and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts

will follow the Blaffer’s Red Block Bash, an event that gives students a chance to enjoy music, art making, dancing, food, drinks and tours of the Gallery. The Red Block Bash runs from 5 to 8 p.m. today in the courtyard of the Fine Arts Building.

In the event of rain, The Birdpeople will be shown in the Dudley Recital Hall, Entrance 16. Admission to the Red Block Bash and the screening of The Birdpeople is free, and attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic to the film.

Jean Luc Mylayne will be on view through Nov. 10. Admission is free. For more information, visit

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