Chris Maynard, Olympia’s feather artist, will have his first solo museum show in the spring.
Maynard’s shadowboxes of intricately cut feathers — all harvested responsibly and legally — have won him admirers in the Northwest and around the world.
The museum show, opening March 11 at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, represents a new level of recognition.
“When I saw his work, I was completely blown away,” said Greg Robinson, the museum’s curator and executive director. “They are meticulous, exquisite pieces. … They have so much movement and life.
“I had never seen anything like them.”
The full effect of the shadowboxes, made with feathers that Maynard cuts with scalpels, can’t be captured by photographs, Robinson said — something those who’ve seen Maynard’s work already know.
“I’ve been in this field in the Northwest for 20 years,” he said. “I’ve met many artists. It’s rare that you meet someone who really blows you away.”
The show, the museum’s main spring exhibit, will give Maynard the opportunity to try some new things, including doing an installation and developing interactive components.
“We’re going to have opportunities for hands-on creation,” Maynard said last week. Details are pending, but he plans at least one project that will allow visitors to participate in the creation of a work to be shown at the museum.
Of course, South Sound residents don’t have to wait to see Maynard’s work. Childhood’s End Gallery in Olympia already has a selection of pieces, including “A Possible Explanation for the Sudden Appearance of Swallows,” a 5-foot-wide piece showing swallows emerging from clouds. The piece costs $21,000.
More of his work — including some small pieces priced as low as $450, less than half the price of a typical piece — will be included in the gallery’s holiday show, opening Friday (Nov. 18).
The Bainbridge museum aims to give exposure to Northwest artists who are not yet famous, Robinson said. “We are focused on the art and craft of the Puget Sound region. We like to promote artists at a point in their careers where maybe the public is not as aware of them.”
Maynard might not be famous, but he’s had at least his 15 minutes. His work has been attracting international attention since 2012, when it was featured in some online magazines. A photo of one of his pieces wound up on the front page of Reddit.
Last week, he was working on a piece for an Australian, talking to a client in Russia and to someone at a museum in the Netherlands, who had inquired about stocking his book, 2014’s “Feathers, Form and Function.”
“And I’m in a new gallery in Paris, which is really kind of fun,” he added.
He’s modest about his success.
“I feel grateful that people have liked my art,” he said. “I’ve always admired people with small businesses, and now I’m doing it and being successful. I’m really happy with that.”
He doesn’t see making major changes in his style or his subject matter — almost always birds, although he has done pieces with dragons and phoenixes.
“I want to keep working with feathers,” he said. “I’m not going to go wildly different than what I’m doing now. You want to do every idea that comes to you, there’s a limited amount of time.
“I just keep exploring ideas.”
In the coming months, he’ll be exhibiting at several invitational art shows, mounting a solo show at Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and doing a monthlong artist’s residency in Costa Rica.
“It’s by a forest refuge,” he said. “I’ll be able to observe the birds and watch their behavior and get ideas in a place that isn’t Washington. I can see cool birds like quetzals and motmots.”
Chris Maynard solo museum show
What: Olympia artist Chris Maynard, known for his feather shadowboxes, will have his first museum show this spring.
When: March 11-June 4.
Where: Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, 550 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island.