The Fourteen Stages of Birdhood
The Fourteen Stages of Birdhood is a set of linocut prints by Cally Trench, an artist whose delicate, detailed mark making I am somewhat familiar with. Her print-making and drawing always expresses a deep care and connection to the subject of the works. One can feel the investment of time and emotions that allowed the artist to gain such a deep understanding of her subject matter.
In this series she examines the life of a bird, or is it the life of all creatures? The protagonist, this beautiful bird - possibly a starling - emanates pure élan-vital, with brazen expressions and beautiful movements. The series of prints are created with strong black marks, with the introduction of colour solely through the piercing eyes, which keep their colour even through death and decay.
The represented stages of transformation are familiar; we have lived these events or experienced them through others. The circle of life-death-decay and life again is a pattern we are all part of: the pattern of earthly life. These lively and joyous images bring Emanuelle Coccia’s words to mind 'Life is always the reincarnation of that which is not alive, a cobbling together of mineral elements, a carnival of telluric substances of the planet-Gaia, the earth which continually presents new faces and creates new modes of being out of even the smallest particles of its disparate, heteroclite body. Every self is a vehicle for the Earth, a vessel that allows the planet to travel without moving.'
Monika Tobel, 2023
 Emanuele Coccia. 2021. Metamorphoses. Polity Press, Medford, page 5.