Art has a unique ability to facilitate connections between people and land. Aldo Leopold said it well:
“Our ability to perceive the quality in nature begins as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values uncaptured by language.”
Every fall, we host Art Discovery Day, celebrating the beauty of both art and nature. Through their unique lenses and wonderful creativity and skill, artists can tell profound stories of the land without using a single word. Join us on October 28, 2017, to discover these talented local and regional artists who find inspiration in the natural world:
Alan Bennett: Alan grew up on his grandfather’s farm along the Horicon Marsh. The subject of Alan’s carvings are birds that he is intimately familiar with through his years afield as a wildlife ecologist. He often uses his art as an educational tool to inform the public of declining bird populations and the need for conservation efforts. For example, Alan recently carved all 17 species of sea ducks native to the North Pacific Rim, 13 of which are in serious decline. The collection is on public display at the Islands and Ocean Visitor Center in Homer, Alaska.
Leslie Demuth: Whether working on-site or from sketches, photos, memory and imagination, her paintings that reflect the rural and natural beauty of the countryside where she lives. Sometimes combining different scenes, rearrange trees, or omit something that isn’t appealing, she paints to capture a feeling, a sense of place.
Kristin Gjerdset: Kristin is an associate professor of art at Wisconsin Luther College, where she teaches painting, drawing and art history. She has been selected as the Artist in Residence at five national parks including Glacier, Everglades, Mesa Verde, Great Basin and Rocky Mountain, experiences she considers the highlights of her career. Her work focuses on insects, revealing their beauty and how each has a role on this planet no matter how small.
Michael Huebschen: Michael’s photographic pursuit of evolution’s protoplasmic sculptings had its roots in his boyhood apprenticeship to his father’s outdoor pursuits and later coursework at UW-Stevens Point. His photographic “captures” of tiny moments in earth space-time are his romantic portal to the prosaic art of the great conservation writers of our time. Michael has published photo essays in the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology’s scholarly publication, The Passenger Pigeon, and currently, serves as their assistant editor for art.
Ellen McGaughey: Which came first- the naturalist or the artist? It is a marriage for her since her subject matter is primarily from the natural world and her instinct to create started at an early age. She is primarily a self-taught artist and her main focus is watercolor.
Nancy Peidelstein: Nancy’s vivid and colorful paintings explore the vitality of the natural world – plant life, waterscapes, and land formations. Her forms take on a somewhat abstract quality creating distinct imagery. She has exhibited and sold a variety of artwork throughout Wisconsin and in the Chicago area. Nancy holds a B.A./B.S.W. from Syracuse University in Selected Studies in Art, Spanish and Social Work and has pursued all three areas of interest throughout adulthood.
Nancy Rafal: Nancy practices a fiber art that adds beauty and functionality to furniture. Some might call it a dying art, caning and rushing are weaving techniques using natural materials that create beautifully patterned chair seats and back. Rafal has been caning since 2001 then began teaching the craft shortly after. She also sits on the board of The SeatWeavers’ Guild.
Geri Schrab: Petroglyphs and pictographs are her muses. Watercolor is her medium. She has 20 years experience visiting and creating paintings inspired by these ancient, sacred sites found on the landscape of North America.
Bud Skupniewitz: Bud was born in the hills of Baraboo, and is a third generation painting contractor and tradesman. He is recognized as a master and expert of faux finishes, murals and glazing, and conducts seminars and teaches throughout the United States. He is also an accomplished woodworker, photographer, potter, and sculptor, largely self-taught. His bronze works fit somewhere between the modernist and expressionist schools, earthy and sometimes primitive, yet with great fluidity and elegance.
Steven Yeo: Steven is recently retired from a career as an aquatic biologist. His interest has shifted to a more emotional, transcendent perspective like that expressed by naturalists such as Aldo Leopold, Muir, and Thoreau. Using encounters with nature in Wisconsin as a springboard, he creates constructed montage images through manipulation of his digital photos. Distorting familiar forms and details, his intent is to create novel compositions, conceptually exploring our cognitive and emotional connection to our existence as part of the natural world.
Artists will be on hand exhibiting their works. Attendees will have a chance to win artworks donated by participating artists by completing a fun and informative scavenger hunt! And all visitors can discover new art, see demonstrations, talk with artists, and even start their holiday shopping a little early. Concessions will be available, provided by People Helping People.
Mark your calendar and plan to join us!