Everything from bears to ducks and in between

Great wildlife art will be on sale to benefit the Bell Museum

Art has the power to slow down life and reveal the truths we too often overlook.

Living in the city, it is especially easy to forget about the effects of nature. As we shuffle from classes, to work, to home, life can become a dulling routine. To take the time to watch a sunset or to ponder migrating birds is not usually a priority in your personal digital assistant.

For us city folks, our interactions with nature are very limited. Streetlights fade the twinkle in stars. Sport utility vehicles scare away the deer. Parking lots replace green grass.

Perhaps, then, the Bell Museum’s Drawn to Nature exhibit will help reconnect city-dwellers with nature.

Fifty artists from all over the country will have their nature-themed artwork on display and for sale.

From paintings, to sculpture, to photography, whatever the medium, each artist works to show a deep connection to his or her subject – whether a mallard duck on a Minnesota pond or an elephant roaming African plains.

Jim Brandenburg, a Minnesota artist featured in the show, worked for National Geographic magazine for 25 years.

“I think the Earth’s our mother,” Brandenburg said. “I can’t think of a subject more important. I’m amazed not everybody uses it, but I guess we’ve grown away from it. For me, it’s a life force I can’t get away from.”

Most of the artists concentrate on capturing realistic images of nature. Most of the painters work with oil paints to give precise detail as well as a vibrantly enhanced portrayal. While many of the paintings could pass for photographs, the artists strive to capture a unique characteristic of animals that translates to human understanding.

Brandenburg said he hopes his photos will result in people changing their politics.

“Whether it changes what kind of car they drive or politician they vote for,” Brandenburg said. “The goal is for someone to be moved enough by the photography to want to protect the environment.”

Terry Lee’s paintings stand out in particular, because he uses a distinct impressionist style. Rather than attempt accuracy, Lee’s animals and nature settings are filled with swervy lines and rainbow colors.

No matter the method the artist at Drawn to Nature uses, each has a unique way of unearthing a sense of belonging.