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Artist-Naturalists in Florida: Then and Now
October 30, 2015 - December 11, 2015
Artist Naturalists in Florida: Then and Now explores the rich history of wildlife art in Florida throughout the past 250 years including works by contemporary Florida artists.
The upcoming year will be a very exciting time for friends of John and William Bartram because 2015 is the 250th anniversary of their first visit to Georgia and Florida. In response to this anniversary, Mallory O’Connor organized an exhibit of wildlife art—painting and photography—for the Doris Bardon Community Cultural Center in Gainesville. The Doris—as it’s affectionately called—is a new art center that enjoys broad-based community support.
North Central Florida is filled with natural beauty and is a popular eco-tourist destination. The community is proud of its natural resources and is also home to the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Butterfly Rainforest as well as the Harn Museum of Art. Art and Nature are the strengths of our region. That’s why the curator decided to focus on Artist-Naturalists in Florida: Then and Now as the subject for the opening exhibition. I am borrowing several facsimile prints of works by William Bartram, Mark Catesby and J.J. Audubon from the University of Florida library to include in the exhibit along with works by 20 contemporary Florida artists.
Miami artist Xavier Cortada will exhibit his digital art work, Florida Diatom, at Artist-Naturalists in Florida: Then and Now.
About Diatoms: Diatoms are water-bound, single-celled symmetrical organisms that harness the power of the sun to create oxygen. They are responsible for generating for 1/3 of the air we breathe. Its is encapsulated in silica. Their glass shells– all that remains from the diatom– are used by scientists today to see what was as they research the environmental issues that will shape our tomorrow. Scientists—and artists—can determine the past salinity of water by examining the shells of diatoms preserved in sedimentary core samples. Each diatom species has a different salinity preference, so changes in the mixture of fresh and sea water (driven by sea level and changes in water management) can be inferred from past diatom remains.