Eric Tardif was born in 1965 in Quebec Canada. After studying Applied Ecology, he worked for a few years before enrolling in Sculpture program at the Sculpture Québec school.
The grace and beauty of birds in flight has inspired a great variety of artistic interpretations but, perhaps none are as unique as those by Quebec artist, Eric Tardif. His wood sculptures capture the elegant and graceful movements of birds through abstract expressions, but unlike most abstract art, Tardif’s designs draw from a lifetime of close observation.
Eric’s close encounters with birds inspired a creative desire to convey their beauty through art, and to achieve this, Eric adapted an ancient technique to realize his visions ” steam bending. Steam bending is a process in which heat vapor is used to make wood slats pliable for builders. It was originally used to build boats and bows, as it allowed the wood to be shaped into curvaceous structures.
Eric saw in this technique the perfect medium for his artistic ambitions, and he began experimenting with different kinds of woods such as walnut, maple, ash, and cherry. The results of his labors are the exquisite bird sculptures that reveal the gracious shapes and forms of birds in flight.
As Eric explains, “each of the pieces I create is produced to reveal the intricate poetry of bird life in its many forms. I have always aimed, in my interpretation and production of art, to render into sculpture the sacred space of a secular world.”
The innovative nature of his work has earned him several awards in Japan and the United States. His works, Tribute to Audubon (2013) and The Nest (2014) were selected for the Birds in Art exhibition at the Leigh Y. Woodson Museum in Wisconsin, US. In addition, his works, Cocoon and once again, The Nest were selected as finalists for the prestigious Niche Awards competition in the US in 2014 and 2015 for an award for excellence in Sculpture.
Birds and Symbolism
In Asia, Cranes are symbols of longevity and immortality. The Cranes can fly to the heavens, and it is a Chinese symbol for “wisdom” and is called the “heavenly” or “blessed” Crane. The Return of the Cranes, each spring made them symbolic of the Resurrection.
The Heron is a symbol of contemplation, vigilance, divine wisdom, and inner peace. As a Chinese symbol, the heron represents strength, purity, patience, and long life. In Africa, the Heron was thought to communicate with the Gods.
In Egypt the Heron is honored as the creator of light. A double headed Heron in Egypt is symbolic of prosperity.
The Swan holds a multitude of representations including love, grace, purity, beauty and sincerity. In Japan, a legend tells that the swan is a bird sent by the children as a peace messenger.
Geese are considered messengers between heaven and earth. The arrival of a flock of geese is seen as a portent of good news, a happy event, or good fortune. It is believed that representations of wild geese in the home create harmony for the couple and family.
Recognition / Awards
2023 Cultural trail, The Giant Kaleidoscope, Public Art, Gatineau, Qc
2022 Selected Provincial Exhibition, Triennale des métiers d’art, Gatineau, Qc
2021 Cultural trail, Grow Together, Public Art, Gatineau, Qc
2020-13 International Wildlife Expo S.E.W.E., Charleston, South Carolina U.S.A. each February
2018 Waterfowl Festival, Featured Artist 2018, Easton, MD, U.S.A.
2014 Finalist at the NICHE Awards 2015, Baltimore, MD, U.S.A
2013 Finalist at the NICHE Awards 2014, Baltimore, MD, U.S.A.
2022 Private collection, Fondation Legault Choquette, philantropy art, Gatineau, Qc
2022 Permanent Collection Public art program Ottawa city, ON
2003 Royal Canadian Mint Collection, Ottawa, On
2003 Flora Canada Collection, Montréal, Qc
2019 La Sporthèque, Private art collection, Gatineau, QC, Canada
2017 Bill Murray, Actor, Private art collection, Charleston, U.S.A
2008 Kerry Stokes, Private art collection, Perth, Australia