Arts and Culture / Magazine Feature

Penrose exhibits rare books and art

The exhibit “Nature Through the Artist’s Eyes,” which highlights the beauty of nature and the relationship between art and science, opened Feb. 26 at Penrose Library.

The exhibit will feature works by contemporary artists, illustrations from books and historic botanical prints. Books include a rare John James Audubon edition from the library’s Special Collections.

“We continue to look at new opportunities to showcase the marvelous ‘hidden treasures’ we have in Special Collections,” says Jeanne Abrams, chair of the exhibits committee and a professor at Penrose Library and Judaic Studies.

Audubon, known for Birds of America, painted more than 1,000 birds during his lifetime. He drew life-size depictions of the birds, often in a predatory manner.

Michael Levine-Clark, collection librarian and a DU associate professor, says the exhibit will show visitors how various artists have illustrated plant and animal life in the context of the book.

“This has changed over the history of printing,” he says. “How text and image are married in the same book is visually appealing.”

The exhibit also features framed floral prints from the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Artist Niki Goulandris combines both ecological and artistic awareness to create her botanic works of art. Active in both the art world and in environmental research, she aims to promote conservation as well as culture.

Kathryn Young, a graduate student in anthropology and museum studies, assisted with the curation of this exhibit.

“I really enjoyed working on this exhibit because I was able to combine many different aspects of museum work including object research, exhibition development and design,” Young says. “This experience benefited me because it gave me the opportunity to work hands-on with collections, collaborate with professionals from different fields and carry out an exhibit from start to finish.”

The exhibit will be open in Penrose Library for two months. The cases and prints are located throughout the main level.

“We have purchased beautiful brand new exhibit cases, and we see them as an exciting venue for engaging the DU and general community with our rich and unique collections,” Abrams says.

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