Nature Focus of Year's First Art Exhibition

The first art exhibit of the new year will feature a Wabash College graduate's work.

The Art Department's first 2005 exhibit is titled "Nature Observed and Expressed." The exhibit illustrates the varied ways artists are influenced by and respond to nature.

The show features three artists - Betsy Stirratt, Linda Salerno, and alumnus Joe Trumpey '88. An opening reception is set for 8-9:30 p.m. today in the Fine Arts Center.

Trumpey was an art and biology major at Wabash and received his Master's 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 5,500 illustrations.

"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 22 years to do the project on his own. Instead, he brought together 15 artists with degrees in natural science and fine art. They worked together as Michigan Science Art to complete the task in October 2003. Trumpey teaches in the Art and Design School at the University of Michigan.

Stirratt, who serves at Director of the School of Fine Arts Gallery at Indiana University, Bloomington, describes her paintings using terms such as measured luxury, voluptuousness and desirability. Her work is influenced by current graphic and interior design as well as natural and biological forms and phenomena.

Salerno says 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.

The exhibition will run through Feb. 19. Gallery hours are 8-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10-2 p.m. Saturday. Gallery admission is free.

Beth Swift is Wabash College's Archivist.