Prof. Erickson Launches Photo Portfolio and Book

Visit to historic Allendale home sparks latest project

"Untitled," from the portfolio, "Oiseaux Vigilants," by Wendy Erickson

Wendy Erickson (adjunct instructor/Photography) exhibited her latest portfolio of photographs – Oiseaux Vigilants – at Old York Cellars, Ringoes, N.J., from March 10 through April 1, 2012.

She says a serendipitous visit to the historic John Fell House in Allendale, N.J., was the catalyst behind her most recent body of work.

“I saw the bird wallpaper and immediately knew the story I had to tell, “ says Prof. Erickson.

Oiseaux Vigilants melds photographs of the home’s period hand-painted, bird-themed wallpaper, taken in situ over five visits, with images of model Valerie Colangelo wearing a hand-made wedding dress from the 1940s. The result is a lyrical and haunting series of photographs that tell the fairytale story of a girl and her interaction with the birds that reside on the wallpaper of an old North Jersey house.

“These ‘Watchful Birds’ live in the wallpaper on the wall of the Fell House,” she explains. “They see the everyday goings on of the people who lived and visited the house. They are beautiful, colorful, dazzling and dramatic. They wait until the sun goes down to leave their precarious roosts venturing through the abandoned rooms, cavorting with things from the past, playing outside in the garden.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, Erickson will be launching Oiseaux Vigilants, a picture book featuring photographs from the portfolio with an accompanying story by writer Lydia Gnau and an introduction by best-selling fantasy author Charles de Lint.