Artist Journeys Into World Of Migrating Creatures, Large And Small

Jun 8, 2018

James Prosek (b. 1976). "Yellowstone Composition No. 1", 2016. Mixed media on wood, 120 x 120 inches. Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming, USA. William E. Weiss Memorial Fund Purchase, Photography: Tim Nightswander/IMAGING4ART. 3.16.1
Credit National Museum of Wildlife Art/James Prosek

A new exhibit at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson highlights the artwork of painter and nature writer, James Prosek, one of three people in the show exploring the meaning of animal migration.

Wildlife biologist, Arthur Middleton shares interactive maps and research of moving elk herds, photographer Joe Riis captures the hardships large mammals go through in their journeys, but painter James Prosek takes a different approach.

“I thought of my contribution to the exhibition could be to illuminate some of the other creatures that move in and out of what we call the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” Prosek said. “Everything from Western Tanagers that spend the winter in Central America or Mexico.”

...To plants with seeds that travel on the wind. One of Prosek’s paintings is of a cloud of army cutworm moths that migrate thousands of miles from the Midwest to the tops of mountains where they become an important food source for grizzly bears.

Prosek started his career publishing the book “Trout: An Illustrated History” at the age of 19. Since then he’s published numerous other nature books, most of them semi-autobiographical. He said his current project explores how humans impose order on nature.

“One image in this show is of a hybrid of a bison and a cow. It’s like a two-headed monster and each is pulling the opposite direction, and in the middle there’s a piece of barbed wire that’s sort of been broken off,” Prosek said. “So we live in a hybrid world where the interests of human and the interests of wilderness kind of need to work together.”

The exhibit is called “Invisible Boundaries” and runs through August 21st.

To hear a longer interview with James Prosek join us for Open Spaces Friday at 3 p.m. or Sunday at noon.