Gaze Up Close at Art and the Animal
The Society of Animal Artists’ on-sale exhibition will be on view at the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art through Oct. 23.
Text and Photos by Julie Garisto, Aug. 9, 2018
The timing couldn’t be better for The Society of Animal Artists‘ touring exhibition, Art and the Animal, at the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art. Its uncompromising and imaginative depictions of creatures great and small should appeal to everyone, even those who care just a little about animals (unimaginable!).
The exhibition of around 125 works reminds us of the potential losses we face as the federal government deregulates hunting, deforestation and the protection of endangered species. On a lighter note, Art and the Animal provides a therapeutic nature break from Tampa Bay’s relentless summer heat, our phones and computers.
“Art and the Animal celebrates creatures in nature in a relatable way,” said James Museum Curator of Art Emily Kapes.”Just like taking a stroll through the woods, the exhibition is a pleasant reminder of the beauty of our world.”
The sheer breadth of the exhibition is what’s most impressive. The pieces, all for sale, come to us from a variety of artists of all ages, background and experience level, in every thinkable medium.
A majority of the works impress with painstaking technique. We see creatures in their natural habitats, domesticated and as livestock. Whether in motion, still, captured, on the hunt or in the sights of a bigger animal, each creature depicted has a gripping story to tell.
Local art installers St. Cate Fine Arts assisted with the hanging of the works, but Kapes decided where the pieces would hang, meticulously arranging their placement according to action, expression and setting, among other similarities.
The result: a harmonious viewing experience, one not likely attained by adhering to the more obvious categories of species, medium or geography. Strolling through the exhibit is not unlike a safari with side trips to familiar back yards, barnyards and beaches.
Entry is free with museum admission. The Society of Animal Artists, founded in 1960, promotes “excellence in the artistic portrayal of the creatures sharing our planet, and to the education of the public through art exhibitions, informative seminars, lectures and teaching demonstrations.”
Below are some highlights of their exhibition: