On display: birds interpreted by the world’s best artists

9/7/2013 | 0

Terry Miller, Caucus, 2007, graphite on Bristol board.

Terry Miller, Caucus, 2007, graphite on Bristol board.

One of the true highlights of the birdwatching year begins today: The much-anticipated annual art show known as “Birds in Art” opens at the beautiful Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, and I couldn’t be happier.

Is it the birds or the art that delights me more? I can’t tell.

The museum has organized the show annually since 1976, seeking to present the best contemporary artistic interpretations of birds and related subject matter.

This year’s exhibition achieves this goal with 125 paintings, graphic works, and sculptures, a few of which are shown below, and it celebrates the incredible artistry of Terry Miller, recipient of the Woodson’s 33rd Master Wildlife Artist Award.

According to the museum, the Master Wildlife Artist Award honors artists who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in using bird imagery in their artwork. Past awardees include Owen Gromme, George Miksch Sutton, Roger Tory Peterson, Robert Bateman, Lars Jonsson, Larry Barth, and other well-known artists. (Here’s a list of previous Master Artists.)

Works by Miller, from Tacoma Park, Maryland, have been selected for inclusion in “Birds in Art” 21 times since 1991 — every year except 1997. He works solely with graphite, producing detailed, monochromatic studies. Fourteen of his artworks are on display this year, including Caucus, above, an arresting portrait of three Marabou Storks rendered in black, white, and every shade of gray.

Along with Miller’s art, the 2013 exhibition includes pieces by 30 international artists, 14 first-time “Birds in Art” artists, and 18 artists who have been named Master Artists previously. Here’s a sampling of their work:

A luminous view of circling Red Kites:

Chris Bacon, Ascension, 2013, watercolor and acrylic on rag board.

Chris Bacon, Ascension, 2013, watercolor and acrylic on rag board.

A window to a raven’s soul:

Karen Bondarchuk, Portent, 2012, charcoal on Rives paper.

Karen Bondarchuk, Portent, 2012, charcoal on Rives paper.

Loafing Black Skimmers:

Al Barnes, Out Island Skimmers, 2013, oil on canvas.

Al Barnes, Out Island Skimmers, 2013, oil on canvas.

Buffleheads at peace:

David Kapszukiewicz, Cruising Down Rocky Run Creek, 2013, oil on canvasboard.

David Kapszukiewicz, Cruising Down Rocky Run Creek, 2013, oil on canvasboard.

And Egyptian Geese making do with a man-made perch:

Jenny Hyde-Johnson, Geese and the Golden Eggs, 2013, acrylic on canvas.

Jenny Hyde-Johnson, Geese and the Golden Eggs, 2013, acrylic on canvas.

“Birds in Art” remains on view at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum through November 10.

As usual, a fully illustrated, four-color catalog accompanies the exhibition. Catalogs are available for purchase online. – Chuck Hagner, Editor

Birds in Art

September 7 through November 10, 2013
Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin
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