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Rewilding

Portraits of women in the wild offer a striking exploration of femininity and nature

by Greg Stefano in Culture on 07 March 2012

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In her new book Rewilding, Cass Bird exuberantly dances around the defining lines of femininity, sexuality and the human connection to nature. Shedding gender definitions, and, at times, their clothes in the hilly countryside of Tennessee, Bird's models are perfectly atypical. Without commentary, the photos themselves vigorously pose questions of androgyny, leaving the answers up to the viewer.

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With the typical charm of Bird's photos—energetic, young, enigmatic—this collection presents an exceptional set of characters and locations. Cast from friends, colleagues and the streets of New York City, Bird's subjects are both the definition and antithesis of femininity. The women take their rightful place among the flora of the South, running wild in the outdoors and creating scenarios historically romanticized for men with complete and total ease. This line between the feminine and masculine, the borders set by society defining the place and role of genders, is elegantly smudged by Bird's portraits, in which those ideas melt away completely.

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Though distinctly ambiguous and casual, the photos still maintain the rampant sexual energy present in the subjects' youth, and each one reveals a little more about the universally attractive cast. Stylistically, the book falls in line with her other work, but the narrative seems unique for Bird and we are truly excited to see what she has up next.

Signed copies of the book and limited edition prints are available from the artist's website.

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