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December 10, 2008 > The Plumed Serpent

The Plumed Serpent

Anxiety about the environment touches us all. The fact that hundreds of species of animals vanish from the earth every year is a large part of that concern. We don't know what we're losing: scientists have not yet documented all of the earth's species of birds. When the naturalist impulse to document is fused with an accomplished artist's passion the end result is powerful art.

Ohlone College's Louie Meager Art Gallery presents "The Plumed Serpent" an installation by David Tomb that features the large mixed media ornithological works by David Tomb complimented by an installation of plants and sound designed by the artist. This gallery wide installation is inspired by Tomb's birding trips to Mexico and research from the California Academy of Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, and the Los Angeles Natural History Museum.

In the gallery Tomb recreates the sights and sounds of this Sierra Madre region. Large-scale drawings (11'X 8') of birds in trees will be installed with actual trees and native vegetation. Bird specimens will be on loan from science institutions and recorded bird calls from western Mexico will fill the gallery to add to the atmosphere of this artistic and educational experience.

The El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve located among the remote peaks of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Southern Chiapas is enveloped in an almost constant mantle of fog. This 300,000-acre reserve is considered one of the most pristine and diverse natural areas remaining in Mexico. El Triunfo is home to about 400 species of birds, including two of the rarest bird species in Latin America-the endemic Horned Guan and the Azure-rumped Tanager. The journey to El Triunfo is a real adventure that requires local guides, wranglers, cooks and pack animals for the trek into the preserve.

David Tomb and Ohlone College collaboration will extend beyond the gallery as well. In conjunction with the show, other Bay Area educators, and the artist will be giving a series of talks and workshops in Ohlone classrooms as well as the gallery. Dr. Gessica Johnston MD will be giving a talk on scientific illustration and Professor Phillip Hofstetter of CSEUB will be giving an art historical talk on how the exhibit relates to Mayan Art specifically in reference to the Quetzal (also known as the Plumed Serpent).

You can help! Electric Works Gallery in conjunction with the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve have released a series of limited edition prints by David Tomb inspired by his most recent trip to Mexico. Proceeds from the sale of the print go directly to El Triunfo Reserve.

Please contact Electric Works Gallery or visit their website at (415) 626-5496 or visit their website at

The Plumed Serpent
Ongoing till December 20
Gallery Hours
12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Also open during all events at the Smith Center
The Louie Meager Art Gallery at the Smith Center
Ohlone College
43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont
(510) 979-7916

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