Wausau, Wisconsin: Opening festivities for this year’s 39th-annual Birds in Art exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum feature a presentation by 2014 Master Artist Barry Van Dusen and Artists in Action on Saturday morning, Sept. 6.
Early birds who visit the Museum on Saturday morning, 9 a.m.-Noon, will be rewarded by interacting with Birds in Art artists, gaining insights from a Master Artist talk, and watching artists at work. More than seventy of the 112 artists selected for Birds in Art will flock to Wausau from throughout the world for the opening of the Woodson Art Museum’s flagship, internationally renowned exhibition and will be in the galleries and sculpture garden Saturday morning to talk with visitors and sign catalogues and posters.
Barry Van Dusen presents his Master Artist talk, “And, Birds to Go Before I Sleep . . .,” 9:30-10:30 a.m.; “Birds in Art” artists demonstrate a variety of mediums and techniques – from modeling in clay to working with acrylics and screenprinting – during Artists in Action, 10:45 a.m.-Noon, both on Saturday, September 6.
Visitors browsing galleries will see fresh artistic takes on birds by some of the world’s most talented artists, portraying unexpected perspectives, amusing poses, and majestic bearing. Birds in Art, a perennial fall favorite, presents 126 all-new paintings, graphics, and sculptures created within the last three years by artists who bring a global perspective to their passion for birds. The exhibition features 15 works by Master Artist Barry Van Dusen, whose luminous watercolors begin in the field with direct observation and field sketching.
What can you expect when viewing the 2014 “Birds in Art” exhibition? Owls abound – from French sculptor Hélène Arfi’s bronze pair perched on a high tree branch to Japanese pyrographer Nobuko Kumasaka’s trio of dozing barn owls. Three dimensional surprises await in Kerry Miller’s hand-colored collage created from a vintage book. Swedish artist Gunnar Tryggmo’s moody watercolor depicts gulls on a misty morning, while Kathryn Mapes Turner’s oil painting captures the visual tension of a flock flying near an ominous storm cloud. The 2014 Birds in Art exhibition remains on view through November 16.
This year’s 112 Birds in Art artists include 92 whose work was selected by a jury, 19 previously named Master Artists, and the 2014 Master Artist Barry Van Dusen, who is the Museum’s 34th Master Artist to receive the Woodson’s Master Wildlife Artist Medal. The three jurors who selected artwork for the 2014 exhibition are Nina Z. Gormley, Wendell Gilley Museum, Southwest Harbor, Maine; Robert B. Pickering, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Laurie Winters, Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend.
The 2014 exhibition includes six Wisconsin artists, 37 international artists hailing from 14 countries, including the Netherlands, Scotland, India, and Japan, and 18 first-time Birds in Art artists. The six Wisconsin artists, followed by where they reside and the number of years their artwork has been selected for Birds in Art (though not necessarily consecutive) are: Clarence P. Cameron, Madison, twelve years; Gary Eigenberger, Green Bay, nine years; Terrill A. Knaack, Beaver Dam, six years; Sue Medaris, Mount Horeb, four years; Don Rambadt, Milwaukee, fourteen years; Gene Reineking, Almond, five years.
2014 Master Artist Barry Van Dusen
In announcing the 2014 Master, director Kathy Kelsey Foley said in April, “We are delighted to honor Barry Van Dusen and acknowledge his exceptional artwork. Barry’s watercolors are remarkably luminous and sensitive, which is due in part to his preference for working in the field, a long-standing tradition among artists who look to nature for subject matter. Lars Jonsson and Jim Coe – both honored as Woodson Master Artists – are two of his many mentors and they, in turn, have the highest respect and praise for Barry.”
Van Dusen’s work has been selected for inclusion in Birds in Art fourteen times since 1991, his first year in the exhibition.
A blend of impressionism and realism, Van Dusen’s watercolors begin with direct observation, fieldwork, and careful planning, but then are executed in a spontaneous, painterly style. Some of his watercolors are produced outdoors, directly from life, while others are a studio synthesis based on fieldwork.
“Field sketching is at the core of my work as an artist,” Van Dusen says, “It’s an ongoing process of exploration and discovery that keeps me intimately connected to the natural world.” Van Dusen calls his sketchbooks his “science and art laboratories,” adding that since 1983, he has filled more than eighty sketchbooks with thousands of drawings of birds, other animals, insects, plants, and landscapes.
Van Dusen, who lives with his wife, Lisa, in Princeton, Massachusetts, was born in 1954 and spent his childhood in the Sebago Lake area of Maine where he first developed an interest in the natural world. Barry’s father, a designer and skilled draftsman, encouraged Barry and his brothers to learn to draw at an early age.
After graduating from the University of Massachusetts, North Dartmouth, with a degree in Visual Design in 1977, Barry worked as a commercial designer and illustrator until 1985 and has since specialized exclusively in natural history art and illustration. In 1982, his passion for natural history led him to an ongoing association with the Massachusetts Audubon Society illustrating a variety of natural history books and pocket guides. Barry’s bird illustrations also have appeared in books published by the American Birding Association, HarperCollins, and both Princeton and Cornell University Presses. Van Dusen’s articles and paintings have been featured in Bird Watcher’s Digest, Birding, and Yankee magazines.
Barry’s published illustrations represent only one side of his artistic career. His skill as a field artist led to his participation in projects abroad sponsored by the Netherlands-based Artists for Nature Foundation. With this organization he has traveled to India, Peru, England, Ireland, Spain, and Israel and worked with some of the world’s leading field artists, including John Busby from Scotland, who was honored by the Woodson Art Museum in 2009, to raise funds for conservation of threatened habitats. “These projects were vital to my continuing development as a field painter,” said Van Dusen, “but they also have introduced me to other cultures and shaped my outlook on worldwide environmental issues.”
“I’m an artist first and a naturalist second,” Van Dusen said. “Birds continue to fill me with awe and wonder, and I hope I can open other people’s eyes to their beauty and why they need our protection.”
Birds in Art Subsequent Tour
Each year, sixty Birds in Art artworks are selected for a subsequent tour to locations throughout the country; the 2014 tour venues are: Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur, Texas, December 5, 2014 – February, 15, 2015; Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, April 4 – May 24, 2015; The Wildling Museum in Solvang, California, June 13 – August 10, 2015; Newington-Cropsey Foundation in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, September 1 – October 23, 2015; and Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, November 22, 2015 – February 7, 2016.
A 132-page full-color, illustrated Birds in Art 2014 catalogue featuring every work along with artists’ statements and an essay by artist and writer Darren Rees about 2014 Master Artist Barry Van Dusen will be available for purchase at the Museum on September 6. Preorder catalogues now at www.lywam.org/catalogues
For more information, visit www.lywam.org, e-mail the Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 715-845-7010.
Birds in Art Opening – part of Wausau’s Artrageous Weekend
The Museum, committed to always-free admission, offers extended hours, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., on Saturday, September 6; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and on Sunday, September 7, during the Birds in Art opening weekend, part of the four-venue art extravaganza, Wausau’s Artrageous Weekend. Free shuttle bus service connects all venues: Birds in Art at the Woodson Art Museum, Festival of Arts and Center for the Visual Arts in downtown Wausau, and Art in the Park in Marathon Park; for details, log onto www.lywam.org/wausaus-artrageous-weekend, www.wausaufoa.org, www.cvawausau.org, or www.wivalleyart.org/artinPark
Birds in Art Programs for All Ages include Two Artist Residencies and a Guest Author
An array of avian-themed programs for all ages will animate the ten-week Birds in Art exhibition that will include two artist residencies and a visiting guest author, beginning with artist Karen Bondarchuk, October 7 – 12, whose artwork is distinguished by striking, large-scale charcoal portraits of ravens, crows, and owls.
Six Woodson Art Museum collection exhibitions complement Birds in Art, including Legacy Lost & Saved: Extinct and Endangered Birds of North America, inspired by Project Passenger Pigeon, a nationwide educational initiative marking the centennial of the species’ extinction. Programs led by guest author Joel Greenberg, October 17-19, and Birds in Art sculptor George Bumann during his artist residency, October 23 – 26, highlight lessons that can be learned from the passenger pigeon’s extinction 100 years ago.
Other Birds in Art public programs include SPARK! for individuals with memory loss and accompanying friends or family members on the third Sunday afternoon of each month, 1-2:30 p.m., including on National Alzheimer’s Awareness Day, September 21. New offerings for adults include drop-in Yoga & Art sessions led by a Croi Cróga Studio instructor, 5:15-6:15 p.m., on Thursdays, September 11, October 2, and November 6; Creative Journaling sessions, 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursdays, September 25, October 16, and November 13; and a Poetry Reading and Discussion: Pairing the Visual and Verbal, 5:30-6:30 p.m., October 30.
URL links to images of 2014 Master Artist Barry Van Dusen
2014 Birds in Art
* = sculptor (25 total)
|Eric van der Aa
|Clarence P. Cameron*
|Elwin van der Kolk
|Timothy David Mayhew
|Jan Martin McGuire
|Melinda Whipplesmith Plank
|John T. Sharp*
|Barry Van Dusen
|Dale A. Weiler*
|Adriana van Zoest
Woodson Art Museum
First Thurs each month 9am–7:30pm
Thurs during Birds in Art 9am–7:30pm
Closed Mon & holidays, including New Year’s Day, Easter, July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas
Admission: Always Free Admission
After hours press inquiries: 715.298.2901
Location: Franklin and 12th Streets, Wausau, Wisconsin 54403-5007
(700 N. Twelfth Street)