Presenting stunning reproductions of oil paintings by landscape artist Philip Juras, this exhibition catalogue offers a glimpse of the presettlement southern wilderness as late eighteenth-century naturalist William Bartram would have experienced it during his famed travels through the region. Juras’s work combines direct observation with historical, scientific, and natural history research to depict, and in some cases reimagine, landscapes as they appeared in the 1770s. Juras spent years researching Bartram and revisiting important sites the naturalist wrote about in his celebrated Travels. Juras’s paintings recreate the lost southern frontier for contemporary viewers in much the same way that nineteenth century American landscape painters like Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran brought the western frontier to the consciousness of the rapidly industrializing East.
Juras’s work explores many of the important and imperiled ecosystems that remain in the South today. These little-known, remnant natural communities, depicted in well-researched and meticulous paintings, are further illuminated by essays placing them in the context of Bartram’s legacy and the American landscape movement. The catalogue features more than sixty reproductions of Juras’s paintings. Presented with essays by the artist as well as Dorinda Dallmeyer, director of the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program at the University of Georgia; Holly Koons McCullough, director of collections and exhibitions at the Telfair; and Janisse Ray, lauded poet and environmental advocate, the catalogue provides readers with a rare glimpse of the Southern frontier before its essence was irrevocably altered by European settlement.
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