Tuesday, May 31, 2016

John James Audubon: Birds of America

May 7 - October 16, 2016




The stately Paine Art Center and Gardens, located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is presenting a  broad, representative selection of original, hand-colored plates from Birds of America, produced by John James Audubon, as is featured exhibition for the Summer of 2016.  Colloquially known as the “Double-Elephant Folio” because of its large size, Birds of America took over a decade to be printed and colored (1827 - 1838).  Upon completion, it comprised 435 life-size, hand-colored plates.  Birds of America subsequently became the most celebrated work of American ornithology in art history.  


 

In 1820, with little more than art supplies, a gun, and a young assistant, Audubon set out down The Ohio River to discover and paint American birds.  Using watercolors, pastels, and various other media to create dramatic, life-like compositions of birds in their natural settings, Audubon focused on individual physical characteristics, as well as behaviors and habitat.  Audubon's remarkable undertaking ultimately resulted in over one-thousand paintings documenting more than 450 species of birds. In 1826 Audubon partnered with the preeminent, Scottish printer of the day, William Home Lizars, to bring his paintings to market as prints.  




 But this relationship was short-lived due to a strike by colorists.  When word of the strike reached Audubon in London, Audubon approached fifty-eight-year-old Robert Havell, Sr., a reputable but not particularly well-known printer. At the time, Havell was about to retire.  Havell accepted Audubon's project but only on the condition that his son, Robert Havell, Jr., be the one to incise the copper printing plates and over see production.  The rest is history.  Some 200 full sets or so are thought to have been printed and published in Audubon’s life time.   Their rarity and extraordinary quality of workmanship have contributed to a seemingly insatiable demand by collectors, and values which have increased steadily over time.




The particular collection assemble at The Paine was selected by Curator, David J. Wagner, Ph.D., who authored American Wildlife Art which features a chapter on Audubon, to reflect the breadth and depth of Birds of America, and some of Audubon's very strongest images.

Lenders to the exhibition include the John James Audubon Center, Audubon’s historic, homestead at Mill Grove, PA, the Milwaukee Public Library Rare Books Collection, the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago, and Joel Oppenheimer also in Chicago.

Photo Credits: Phil Weston of Weston Imaging Group in Oshkosh for The Paine Art Center and Gardens



Sunday, May 1, 2016


Opening of Art and the Animal

Canton Museum of Art


The Canton Museum of Art


55th Annual Art and the Animal































Art and the Animal is the tour of selections from the annual juried exhibition of members of the Society of Animal Artists. The Tour Director is, David J. Wagner, Ph.D   http://www.davidjwagnerllc.com/








Saturday, April 16, 2016

Brian Jarvi's 

AFRICAN MENAGERIE


INTRODUCTION

Rarely does a concept and body of work to back it up come along that begs for a museum exhibition, as much as the AFRICAN MENAGERIE project of Brian Jarvi. Seven large panoramic panels, the largest of which is 9 feet by five feet, form a sweeping, grand panorama of the African savannah and the animal kingdom contained therein. Fifty related research sketches and mixed media studies accompany the panorama; along with subtly and intelligently integrated signage describing the wildlife and ecology.



Documenting the project will be a coffee-table book by Todd Wilkinson, author of such books as Last Stand: Ted Turner's Quest to Save a Troubled Planet, and Kent Ullberg: Monuments to Nature. Wilkinson's book, will be available to tour venues to sell in their book stores and gift shops.

Bongo Study

SAA member Brian Jarvi is widely recognized as among the very best painters of Africa today. AN AFRICAN MENAGERIE is unparalleled in its breadth, depth, and scope, and sure to be a hit with visitors wherever it is displayed.

David J. Wagner, Ph.D.
Curator/Tour Director

ARTIST STATEMENT

From  its  very  conception  fourteen  years  ago,  "African  Menagerie"  has  experienced  a  journey  of growth,  meaning,  and  evolution.  Now,  it  has  entered  the  most  exciting  phase;  creation  of  the  epic vision.  The  seven  paneled  twenty-seven  foot  long  work  will  feature  more  than  one  hundred  forty different species from the Dark Continent, spawned from early childhood fascination with both living collections  of  wild  animals,  and  paintings  from  the  distant  past  portraying  large  varied  groups  of exotic  creatures.  In  the  "Menagerie,"  the  gathering  of  an  incredible  array  of  wildlife  will  be  set against  a  grand  panoramic  backdrop,  highlighted  by  a  view  of  the  receding  snows  of  Mount Kilimanjaro. All of Africa's icons including the Elephant,  Leopard, Giraffe, Rhino, Hippo, and Zebra will  mingle  with  such  exotics  as  the  Bongo,  Okapie,  and  Mandrill. 

Windows to the Soul, Mandrill

More  than  eighty  bird  species; Ostrich,  Shoebill,  Lilac  Breasted  Roller,  and  Sacred  Ibis  among  them,  have  also  arrived.  And  man, who has come to dominate the earth, has been summoned to this gathering, as the natural world seeks answers  to  the  growing  issues  of  survival  faced  by  countless  species  across  the  planet. 


Haley's Flamingos


African Spoonbill Prestudy



Allegorical storyline's intended to dramatize the urgency of the moment are woven into the tapestry of this idyllic scene.  For  example,  the  arrival  of  the  "Four  Horses"  from  the  far  left,  and  the  "Lion  and  the  Lamb" seated  directly  in  front  of  a  "DaVinci"  like  figure  in  the  foreground,  compel  the  viewer  to  interact with  the  scene.  Over  the  years,  the  original  concept  of  simply  seeking  to  create  art,  has  evolved  into something far more meaningful: a message to humanity intended to inspire acts of conservation. Acts that  will  save,  not  just  the  great  iconic  species  of  Africa,  but  wildlife  across  our  fabulously,  diverse planet.


Grant's Gazelle

In  preparation  for  the  creation  of  "African  Menagerie,"  more  than  100  studies  will  be  produced. Pencil,  charcoal,  monochromatic  oils,  mixed  media  and  major  full  color  oils  will  be  created  as  I explore  and  familiarize  myself  with  a  multitude  of  species.  To  date,  fourteen  of  these  works  have been  completed,  six  of  which  have  been  juried  into  major  exhibitions  including  The  Annual Exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists, Artists for Conservation Annual Exhibition, Birds in Art at  the  Leigh  Yawkey  Woodson  Art  Museum  where  one  work  was  purchased  for  acquisition  into  the permanent  collection.  More  studies  will  focus  on  relative  scale,  personality,  attitude,  and  the demeanor of  a wide array  of subjects.  Numerous  small multi-species paintings will be produced over the  course  of  this  process  including  "The  Sunbirds,"  "The  Duikers,"  and  "The  Ibis"  studies,  just  to name  a  few.  Eight  of  these  pieces  will  be  of  major  variety.  The  following  is  a  list  of  those  works, along with brief descriptions.

DESCRIPTION OF WORKS

In preparation for the creation of "African Menagerie," more than 100 studies will be produced in various media including pencil, charcoal, monochromatic oils, mixed media and major full color oils.

Many will also be included in the exhibition.

Lion and Lamb

"Predatoria" (36x72)
"Predatoria" will feature species ranging from the diminutive Banded Mongoose to the iconic 450lb African Lion. Also included are the Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Homo Sapien, Honey Badger, Cheetah, and others in a menagerie grouping.

"The Last Quagga" (36x48)
A detailed full color study of the extinct Quagga Zebra.

 

"Twelve Monkeys" (40x80)
Several of the primates including the Western Lowland Gorilla, Yellow Baboon, Wolf's Mona Monkey, Mandrill, Homo Sapien, Colobus Monkey, and others.

Bonobo Charcoal



The Birds Study in Progress
Silent Song, The Birds


"The Birds" (36x48)
The nearly completed menagerie grouping of more than 20 of Africa's most iconic avian species including the Ostrich, Shoebill, Crowned Crane, Lilac Breasted Roller, Bateluer Eagle, and Lesser Flamingo.

"Omega Man" (36x48)
A study of Homo Sapien inspired by DaVinci's "Vitruvian Man."
"The Four Horses" (40x60)
A Prestudy of the Equines includes the Mountain Zebra, Grevy's Zebra, Burchell's Zebra, and the Quagga.

"Jurassica" (72x72)
"Jurassica" will feature several of the more prehistoric appearing species including the Elephant, Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, and Crocodile.


"Master Prestudy" (48x96)
The Master Prestudy will be a complete monochromatic preliminary study of the final epic 27 feet long and 10 feet high painting titled "African Menagerie, The Inquisition."    
BOOK

Documenting the exhibition will be a book by Todd Wilkinson,
Author, Last Stand: Ted Turner`s Quest To Save A Troubled Planet.

EXHIBITION TOUR ITINERARY

 October 1 - December 21, 2017
 Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University, KS

 January 20 - April 5, 2018
 Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, Oradell, NJ

 April 26 - July 15, 2018
 Canton Museum of Art, Canton, OH

Additional Venues are Pending


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Robert Bateman

Listen to Robert Bateman and Kent Ullberg discuss their environmental painting and sculpture in Environmental Impact at Saint Mary's College Museum of Art on Ecotopia with Susan and Stephen Tchudi on KZFR 90.1 Chico, California:  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/32851229/Ullberg%20and%20Bateman%20copy.mp3
Kent Ullberg
Environmental Impact Exhibit Curator, Dr. David J. Wagner, will join the conversation in an interview sequel on March 1 at 6:00 p.m. PST.

David Wagner

The Stanford University initiative, Millennium Alliance for Humanity and Biosphere (MAHB) has posted these Blog Entries from Robert Bateman, Leo Osborne, David Wagner, Derek Robertson, with more to come:
Derek Robertson
Leo Osborne




Monday, December 21, 2015



Walter Ferguson 1930-2015 

Today I received an email from the son of the painter, Walter Ferguson, a long-time member of The Society of Animal Artists, whose work is featured in Environmental Impact, informing me that Walter passed away on December 18, and that his funeral is today in Israel. Walter worked as an artist for the American Museum of Natural History and the Tel Aviv University, and is best known for his wildlife art.

"Save the Earth" by Walter Ferguson

 Walter was born in New York City in 1930. He received his formal art training at Yale School of Fine Arts and Pratt Institute. In 1965, Walter immigrated to Israel with his wife and settled in Beit Yanai on the Mediterranean coast, where they raised four children.  In Israel Walter maintained an active and successful career.  He traveled extensively over a period of more than 60 years throughout North America, Mexico, The Middle East and Africa, and his travels inspired paintings of the indigenous people, wildlife, and other subjects.  Walter was a versatile artist who began championing environmentalism in his artwork earlier than most.  His large, activist, oil painting, Save the Earth (attached), which is featured in Environmental Impact, is from 1989.  It is one of three paintings by Walter that are featured in Environmental Impact.


I admired Walter and his work greatly. Walter's work was courageous.  And he and his sons were generous in lending it for display in Environmental Impact and other museum exhibitions.   Walter's correspondence with me was always kind, thoughtful, and instructive.  His family's loss is our loss, the artworld's, too. 

David J. Wagner