Art Exhibit Nature Observed and Expressed Displayed at Wabash
by Beth Swift
January 21, 2005
Get directions to Wabash College Fine Arts Center
The Wabash College Art Department announces the opening of its first
exhibition of the new year, Nature Observed and Expressed. This art
exhibit illustrates the varied ways artists are influenced by and
respond to nature. The show features three artists —Betsy Stirratt,
Linda Salerno, and Wabash College alumnus, Joe Trumpey (W ’88).
Stirratt, who serves as the Director of the School of Fine Arts Gallery
at Indiana University in Bloomington, describes her paintings using
terms such as measured luxury, voluptuousness and desirability. She
says, “The process of composing layers of organic forms and lush color
grounds additively culminates in the finished painting. The layers
recall both micro and macro views of esoteric organisms, creating a
sensuous surface, with flowers serving as a biological reality check.”
Her work is very much influenced by current graphic and interior design
as well as natural and biological forms and phenomena.
Salerno says that the genesis of this body of her work came in 1990.
While in Italy, Salerno was surrounded by a garden and longed to record
the magic she saw. She began by making imprints of the plants there with
a tube of black paint and plain paper.
Nature is a major source of inspiration for Salerno. She calls herself a
“primary observer.” Inspiration comes from a variety of sources such as
the night sky, the colors of river moss, wildfires, plant imprints and
other images she has collected over the years. Of her work, Salerno
says, “I paint those fleeting moments which can only be recorded in the
Joe Trumpey was an art and biology major as an undergraduate at Wabash
College, and received his Masters of Fine Arts degree from the
University of Michigan in scientific illustration. He recently served as
the Chief Science Illustrator for Grzimek’s Animal Encyclopedia, a set
of 17 volumes with 5500 illustrations. Of the project, Trumpey says,
“Imagine an assignment: Research and illustrate over 5,000 species of
animal life…Make sure each painting is researched, sketched, reviewed,
painted, scanned, revised, reviewed again, composited and constructed as
a digital file. Complete all 5,000 paintings in three years.” Trumpey
calculated that it would take twenty-two years to do the project on his
own. Instead he brought together 15 artists with degrees in natural
science and fine art and they worked together as Michigan Science Art to
complete the task in October 2003. Trumpey also teaches in the Art and
Design School at the University of Michigan.
Of his time at Wabash this scientific artist says, “I've seen again that
the liberal arts education that I received at Wabash College gave me a
firm foundation for succeeding at even very challenging projects.”
The exhibition, located in the Eric Dean Gallery of the Fine Arts
Center, will run through Saturday, February 19, 2005. Gallery hours are
Monday through Friday 8-5 p.m. and Saturday 10-2 p.m. Admission is free.