Paula Rebsom

Picture Window

As urban sprawl continues, animal habitats are constantly stripped to make way for homes, commercial developments, roadways, and also to create more spectacular views.


Full Artist Statement

When I can’t be Here, I go there.

1. Picture Window. September 1-21
2. Picture - September 22-26


A two-part installation: During the first three weeks of the show a house façade blocked off the viewers entry to the exhibition space but the space was still visible through a picture window. The exhibition space contained tree cut outs and a mural painting of Mt. Hood. During the first week the view of Mt. Hood through the picture window was obstructed by the tree cut outs, over the next two weeks the trees were slowly removed and replaced by cut outs of coyotes. A photograph was taken during the middle of the tree/coyote exchange and replaced the entire installation during the 4th week of the exhibition.


Statement: In the winter, after the leaves have fallen, if I stand on my tiptoes and look out the window in my sewing room up in the attic I can just barely see the tip of Mount Hood. Below that is a view of the roof of the restaurant next door and a pile of trash that has accumulated behind their restaurant. Other views from my rental home include a bright yellow and green dry cleaning business, two auto body shops, a law office, and a pho’ restaurant whose outdoor lights buzz so loud at night that I can’t sleep with my windows open in the summer time. Sounds of cars can be heard constantly and once a week at 5:00 in the morning I am awoke by the large garbage truck that comes to empty the restaurants trash bins that happen to be in my cemented “backyard”. The only backyard wildlife that I encounter are the crows, rats, and raccoons that dig through the trash piles. If I walk 3 blocks south however, a spectacular full view of the mountain can be seen on clear days. I often take my dog on walks along the road in front of the houses there and fantasize about what it would be like to have that as a view through the safety of my picture window. I begin to image about the animals that live on and around the mountain and about the homes that surround and define the borders of their habitat and suddenly I feel that this view isn’t so ideal anymore.


As urban sprawl continues, animal habitats are constantly stripped to make way for homes, commercial developments, roadways, and also to create more spectacular views. I am in particular fascinated with animals that continue to test our boundaries, such as the coyote, who thrives in the most unlikely of circumstances, within city limits. According to the Audubon Society of Portland’s Living With Urban Coyotes pamphlet “Sightings in and around Portland began in the 1980s and have increased over the past 15 years”. Eradication efforts frequently backfire by leading to increased littler sizes among the coyote populations. I am interested in these domestic/wild intersections where humans and animals collide and ultimately how an animal’s domestic/wild, predatory/prey status and economic value decide its fate as acceptable or unacceptable wildlife in our backyard.