Mary Britton Clouse received her B.F.A. in painting and printmaking from S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo and her M.A. in lithography at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque under Garo Antreasian. She and her husband Albert worked at numerous limited edition print studios in New Mexico, including the Tamarind Institute of Lithography. They operate a small private book and paper repair practice, Book & Paper Artifacts in Minneapolis.
For several years, her animal advocacy work took precedence over her artistic career. Since 1990 she served as President of the Minnesota based Animal Rights Coalition and founded other organizations including Minnesota Spay/Neuter Project, Legislative Efforts for Animal Protection and most recently, Chicken Run Rescue and Justice for Animals Arts Guild.
Her work has always involved animal imagery. Current work incorporates drawing, painting, sculpture, photography and installation combined with authentic artifacts like eating utensils and cages, restraint devices or tools used to mutilate or control animals. In some works, her quests for public data such as court records on cruelty cases using Freedom of Information and Minnesota Data Practices Acts and correspondence play an active role in the creation of the work.
Recent work includes portrait photographs, paintings and sculptures about
real birds she has rescued and rehabilitated (which number nearly 200 since 2001), blurring the lines between portrait and self portrait. Her most recent exhibits were “Bird x Bird, Readers Art” at Susan Hensel Gallery, and “Wings” at The Hopkins Center for the Arts.
Once you become familiar with the art and animal activism of Mary Britton Clouse, you may just become a vegetarian yourself! Known as “The Chicken Lady,” she and her husband live in North Minneapolis with their brood of birds, chickens and roosters.
Development of Justice for Animals Arts Guild exhibit and event opportunities to promote artists who value the rights of animals and critical thought about art that harms or exploits animals. www.brittonclouse.com/jaag.htm
Open entry photo competition in observance of International Respect for Chickens Day (Deadline is May 15th), To view, vote or enter competition, go to www.brittonclouse.com/chickenrunrescue/#CONTEST
"Sound of a Battery Hen"
You can tell me: if you come by the
North door, I am in the twelfth cage
On the left-hand side of the third row
From the floor; and in that cage
I am usually the middle one of eight or six or three.
But even without directions, you’d
Discover me. We have the same pale
Comb, clipped yellow beak and white or auburn
Feathers, but as the door opens and you
Hear above the electric fan a kind of
One-word wail, I am the one
Who sounds loudest in my head.
Prologue to "The Life of One Battery Hen"
by Karen Davis, PhD
Courtesy of United Poultry Concerns
Marya Morstad was the recipient of the 2004 National Federation of Community Broadcasters “Golden Reel” award for best local documentary for "Art and Spirit Matters: Arts and Religion in the Twin Cities." Morstad is the host of “Art Matters” a weekly arts program on KFAI Fresh Air Community Radio.