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Fin & Feather Art Exhibit

Event Details

December 18, 2013 12:30 PM — February 28, 2014 5:00 PM
Location: Mitchell County Conservation Board - Milton R. Owen Nature Cente
1879-3 Highway 9
Osage, Iowa, 50461
Contact Name: Chelsea Ewen
Email: chelsea@osage.net
Phone: (641) 732-5204
Website: https://www.facebook.com/events/545835828842608/

Event Description

It’s hard to improve upon nature.  Yet talented, persistent artists have been trying, time after time, year after year… and for that we should all be grateful.  More than eighty attempts by artists to capture nature are now on display at the Milt Owen Nature Center, 18793 Highway 9, west of Osage.

A new temporary exhibit, entitled “The Art of Fin & Feather” consists of paintings and objects that showcase the variety, the beauty, and the symbolism of birds and fish.  The display draws on the collection of Kurt and Paula Meyer, who live near Mona in northern Mitchell County.  Kurt is a board member of the Mitchell County Environmental Education Foundation and collaborated with Chelsea Ewen, naturalist with the Mitchell County Conservation Board, to select the artworks and assemble the exhibit.

The range of the exhibit is almost as great as nature itself.  For example, birds include a barnyard rooster, a wild turkey, an eagle, a pheasant, Canada geese, loons, ducks, owls, parrots, doves, cardinals, plus various songbirds.  Fish are captured swimming in schools, arrayed in the marketplace, teasing anglers, and being cleaned prior to a shore lunch.

“Fin & Feather” features many different art forms.  Framed works include oil paintings, watercolors, woodblock prints, lithographs, etchings, beadwork, reverse appliqué and stitchery.  The exhibit also includes woodcarving, stained glass, studio glass, and pottery.

Exhibit artists reflect the art traditions of Panama, Japan, China, Mexico, Canada, Thailand, India, Tanzania, and diverse examples from the US, including realism, abstract art and folk art.  Among artists represented in “Fish & Fowl” are Midwesterners John Bernhardt, Herb Hultgren, Cy DeCosse, and Joan Beringer Pripps.  Other notable US artists include Erik Budd (a 1968 graduate of Osage High School), Bernard Vetter, R. E. Renmark, and Randi Bull.

Kurt Meyer, in commenting about this exhibit, noted, “Paula and I certainly did not set out to collect bird or fish paintings, but over the course of time, as we acquired art that we liked, not surprisingly much of it featured nature.  Our home south of Mona is basically an emersion in nature.  Increasingly, the art we’ve accumulated is a reflection of our interests and of our lives.”

Meyer continued, “One of the overriding themes of this exhibit is the incredible beauty of birds and fish, in nature of course, but also on canvas or paper or cloth.  Representational and realistic artworks capture this quality remarkably well, as do the more abstract pieces.  I think visitors will appreciate the breadth of the exhibit.”

The exhibit also demonstrates the symbolic importance of fish and fowl.  For example, in addition to glorifying nature, a bird motif can convey relatively simple concepts, like love and wisdom, as well as more complex messages, such as a divine spirit, the desire for peace, the freedom of flight, and the importance of an ample food supply.

The Owen Nature Center is open to the public Tuesdays through Fridays from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Kurt Meyer will give a presentation about the exhibit at the Nature Center on Sunday afternoon, January 19, at 3:00 PM.  The public is cordially invited to view the exhibit at no cost whenever the Center is open and to attend the January presentation, which is also free of charge.