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Posted by on Feb 4, 2013 in Public Art |

Harry McDaniel, Redbird

Harry McDaniel, Redbird


“Few people will see the cardinal right away. Some will be caught by surprise as they unconsciously link the pieces together. Others will recognize the head, or a wing tip, and then realize the implied connection to the other pieces. Some viewers will not recognize the form until shown by friends. In any case, once the cardinal is seen, it becomes visible from any angle.” — Harry McDaniel

Harry McDaniel began his career as a woodwind instrument maker, but through classes at a community art center he soon found a love for painting and sculpture. McDaniel’s art is inspired by optical illusions and visual puzzles. He currently lives and works in Asheville, NC.

At first glance, Redbird, located in Fred Fletcher Park, gives the impression of giant flowers swaying in the breeze, but as viewers move around the piece, they notice that the irregular shapes suggest something different. Inspired by the cardinal, North Carolina’s state bird, McDaniel’s design balances abstraction and representation. Redbird is composed of aluminum and heavy-gauge steel and is 13 feet high by 9 feet in diameter.

McDaniel’s piece was selected by the Raleigh Arts Commission through a call for entries. The funds to support the project came from another public art project, the Red Wolf Ramble, which generated money specifically to be spent on outdoor public art. Redbird’s unveiling was part of the Raleigh Arts Commission’s 30th Anniversary Celebration in 2007.

Harry McDaniel Website



Redbird Closed Caption:

um, no i just always thought it looked like a peace lily. Thats a cardinal? I’d say that person was on drugs. (laughter)

Flowers or something like that? Seaweed? I think its a bunch of a sea, like um, sea monsters. I thought it was swans with red collars.

I’m Harry McDaniel, I’m a sculptor in Asheville North Carolina, and I created the sculpture Redbird which is located in the city of Raleigh.

Once you see it, it’s fairly easy to see, its a little hard to see once you first come upon it.

As you walk around they’ll piece it together in their minds and see the cardinal uh, enjoy the puzzle aspect of it. I don’t think there are many people who immediately see the cardinal form there. My hope is that, uh, in an abstract way it will draw people in. Part of my thought process of this was there is a bit of a community factor there, where one person figures it out that it’s a cardinal and gets excited and will tell the person they are with or bring someone else back to see it and show them it’s a cardinal. It’s not dependent on every person individually making that connection themselves.