The Beauty Of Art

Through July 28, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, on Curtis Street, near the Jamestown Community College Campus, invites you to come down and enjoy some of the winning works of art from a national competition, called ”America’s Parks Through the Beauty of Art.”

The national sponsors of the show invited artists to capture an original, two-dimensional scene from any park in North America, including national, state, and local parks, in the United States, Canada, or Mexico. Jurors selected what they considered the best 101 images from entries in the competition. The RTPI exhibit presents the top-scoring 50 works, from among those winners.

Before coming the Jamestown, the exhibition was shown in Bolivar, Mo. When it leaves Jamestown, the art works will be taken to Kenosha, Wis., where they will be on display, through mid-October.

The show fills the Peterson Institute’s Green Gallery, plus the hallway which stretches along the edge of that gallery, and the hallway on the opposite side of the building, plus the elevator lobbies on both the first and second floors of their beautiful headquarters.

Nature art artists often are drawn to use similar subjects, such as waterfalls, sunrises and sunsets, close-ups of beautifully colored creatures, and beaches, where waves pound against sand or rocks.

The works in this travelling exhibition have been well chosen, for diversity and style. ”Sunset,” by Jean Herman, for example, is an image of Bahia Honda State Park, in Florida, and the entire image is made from pieces of differently colored cloth, which have been quilted together, to form the image.

”Notes on a Staff” utilizes acrylic paints to capture a series of small human portraits in the foreground. The subject is a barn dance, and no doubt it is made up of recognizable images of people known to the painter, shown giving themselves over to the dance. Above their heads, rises the rafters of a barn, still under construction, with small images of workmen, standing on those rafters, as though they were a musical cleft, and each small, dark workman was a musical note. The setting is Hawn State Park in Missouri?

My three personal favorite images in the show are ”Pelicans at Ruby Beach,” an image of Olympic National Park, in Washington state, by Sean Murtha, ”Tricolored Heron,” a close-up view of the beautiful plumage of a wading bird at Everglades National Park in Florida, captured in acrylics by Ed Takacs, and ”The Landscape of Fire,” a very tall and thin image, made very close-up, as though the viewer’s eye was only a few inches from the bark of a tree which has been badly singed by fire. The latter painting is captured in watercolors, by Suze Woolf, at Kootenay National Park in British Columbia, in western Canada.

The first shows the familiar sunset, with everything made the color of flame, but elements of the image are obscured by a mist, rising from where the chilling air is touching the warmer waters of the sea, giving a sense of reality to the striking image. The mood created by the painting is thrilling.

The second demonstrates the nearly impossible collections of colors in the feathers of a predominately blue colored wading bird.

The third represents a tall tree with very rough, coarse back which has been badly singed on one side, probably by a forest fire.

In addition to the 50 works from the travelling exhibit, the RTPI shows a number of original paintings by their patron, Roger Tory Peterson, and an exhibit of fossils, including a Columbian Mammoth, which was excavated in Randolph.

The Institute is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., plus Sundays, from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, visit their website at www.rtpi.org, or phone them at 665-2473.