About Van Keuren Marshall
Van grew up in South Carolina and from an early age enjoyed drawing and sketching birds. When Van was 11 years old his great aunt Janie gave him a 1942 bound edition of Audubon’s The Birds of America. She signed the volume “To Van Keuren Marshall who especially likes to draw birds”, and encouraged Van’s early interest in bird art. This interest in birds and art and the natural world led Van to begin college as an art major and to finish with a biology degree.
Post-college work as a cabinet maker and woodworker combined with his continuing love of birds and art eventually led to a providential meeting in 1980 with Grainger McKoy, the renowned South Carolina bird sculptor. Grainger offered Van an opportunity to apprentice under him at his studio on Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina. This very generous offer gave encouragement and inspiration to Van’s eventual decision to become a full-time bird sculptor.
Today, Van sculpts a broad range of birds, from the tiny Ruby-throated Hummingbird to the full-size Wild Turkey Gobbler. He works primarily with basswood to carve and burn intricate feather details in the decorative style of bird sculpture. These decorative pieces are usually life size and are painted realistically with oil colors. Van also enjoys carving birds from mahogany and walnut and leaving them unpainted. This interpretive style presents compelling, dynamic bird sculptures while highlighting the natural beauty of the wood.
“I feel blessed to have the opportunity and talent to express in wood and paint some of the beauty and wonder these marvelous creatures bring to our lives. Birds are a gift shared with us through creation. The joy and inspiration we experience while being around them is a blessing. It is my desire to present through wood sculpture some re-creation of the beauty and fascination of birds in flight and birds at rest.”
Van lives in Summerville, South Carolina with his wife and their lovable black Lab, Ollie.
Exhibits and Awards:
- Guest Artist, 2017 Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, Charleston, South Carolina
- 2015 Ward Foundation World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition, Ocean City, Maryland. My work “Blue Pursuit” won Third in Masters, Interpretive Wood Sculpture.
- 1996 Works on exhibit at Woodlands Resort and Inn, Summerville, South Carolina.
- 1990 Ward Foundation World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition, Ocean City, Maryland. My work “Courting Kestrels” won Best in World in Interpretive Wood Sculpture and was purchased by the Ward Foundation for its museum.
- 1990 “Winged Sculpture – The Artist and His Style” solo exhibition at the Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina.
- 1987 “Birds in Art” exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau Wisconsin. My work “Pelican Plunge” was purchased by the museum for their permanent collection and selected as the museum’s “Artwork of the Month” in August, 1989.
- 1986 “Birds in Art” exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau Wisconsin. My work “Nonpareil – Painted Bunting” was chosen for the touring exhibition which visited museums in Seattle, Santa Barbara, Honolulu and Beijing, China.
- 1985 Spoleto Arts Festival USA exhibit at the City Gallery, Charleston, South Carolina.
- 1984 Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences Wildlife Art Exposition, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- 1984 “Carvers from Wadmalaw” joint exhibition with Grainger McKoy at the Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina.