Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, through April 30
This story was featured in the April 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art April 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Through April 30, the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum presents works by two celebrated wildlife and marine artists, sculptor Kent Ullberg and painter Guy Harvey. The exhibit—which is, in essence, two retrospectives—includes 42 sculptures, maquettes, and photo panels of monumental works by Ullberg and 38 acrylic and watercolor paintings and pencil and pen drawings by Harvey. “To have two talented and well-known artists—each having a unique perspective on wildlife—come together and complement each other is truly an extraordi- nary opportunity for us,” says museum board president James Bellis.
Ullberg’s works include sculptures dating back to 1969. The works range from highly realistic “documentary” pieces he sculpted of African animals when he was a museum curator in Botswana to his more stylized and abstracted works of everything from waterfowl to dinosaurs, including bald eagles, king penguins, bears, dolphins, otters, and figurative pieces. One of Ullberg’s favorite works in this exhibition is the bust of a young African man he made while he was in the Kalahari Desert collecting materials for a museum display. The piece is entitled PULA, which means rain. “When the rains fail, people starve,” Ullberg says, explaining the emphasis the people place on the word. “Even their currency is called a pula.” Ullberg did a quick sculptural sketch of the young man, who was his assistant. “He is looking up, and the rain is falling on his face. It’s just a head study,” he says.
Complementing Ullberg’s sculptures are two-dimensional marine works in a variety of media by Harvey, a former professor of marine biology, a conservationist, and a self-professed explorer. The exhibit includes paintings and drawings of offshore marine species, game fish, sharks, reef fish, sea mammals, and turtles. The works date back to 1994.
“Guy and I are old, old friends,” Ullberg says, “and we have traveled to- gether all over the world. [This joint exhibit] is appropriate because I have learned so much about marine art because of him.” —Laura Rintala
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