In Nature's Company

Released October 01, 2004

Salem, Mass.  The natural world has been an inspiration for artists throughout time. A new exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum explores this connection, drawing on the work of more than 20 Massachusetts artists for whom nature is a rich source of creativity and subject matter. This exhibition is curated by Jane Winchell, Sarah Fraser Robbins Director of PEM’s Art & Nature Center.

In Nature’s Company runs from Oct. 9, 2004, to Sept. 18, 2005, in the museum’s Art & Nature Center.

The exhibition features a wide variety of works including paintings, photography, sculpture, furniture, and quilts. Through these works, the artists reflect on their own experiences and interpretations of nature. Sandy Litchfield uses nature walks as inspiration for her fascinating, layered paintings, which blend digital images, oils, and watercolors. Judy Kensley McKie’s brass Monkey Chair combines whimsy and functionality. Sally Dillon reflects the vibrant colors and wonders found in the ocean in her quilt Sea Life. Steve Hollinger’s Bat uses sunlight and heat to make a bat skeleton move in its glass case. Some works echo the vital forces of nature, while others convey the fragility and delicate balance of the natural environment.

For the duration of the exhibition, the featured artists will be in residence at PEM on select weekends (to be announced). Michael LaFosse will demonstrate his unique origami techniques, and Kitty Wales will share her interest in found objects. These regularly scheduled artist-in-residence programs will give visitors the opportunity to meet the artists, see demonstrations of the artistic process, and hear how the artists formed their ideas and art. Visitors will also have the chance to try their hand at creating art.

Additionally, interactive stations within the exhibition space invite visitors, both children and adults, to participate through hands on activities. A photo art station is inspired by Amy Ragus’s Gee, a photo collage that captures the wonder of fall in New England. At Nature Up Close visitors can explore a collection of fascinating natural objects with a projection microscope. At another interactive station, visitors can create an original work of art from over 100 magnetized pieces of sculpted wood from different trees from around the world.

An exhibition booklet, Meet the Artists, will be available in the gallery, presenting artist bios and artists’ views on their own works of art and their connections with nature. Also included are questions to help families explore the exhibition.

A list of artists, artist bios/statements, related programming and interactive stations, and images are available upon request.

The Art & NatureCenter

The Art & Nature Center is an innovative space for families and K-6 school groups featuring dynamic, interactive displays and activity stations that highlight the connections between art and nature. Rotating theme-based installations and an exploration zone celebrate this region’s unique natural heritage while referencing the global influences nature has had on artists, art, and culture.


PR Contacts:

April Swieconek  -  Director of Public Relations  -  978-745-9500 X3109  -

Whitney Van Dyke  -  Director of Communications  -  978-542-1828  -

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