A public garden & cultural center

James Prosek

Tandem Pursuits: Armor and Ichthyology 
Glyndor Gallery | September 15–December 1, 2013

Tarpon, 2012
Watercolor, gouache, colored pencil and graphite on tea-stained paper
42” x 50”
Courtesy of the artist and Schwartz-Wajahat, New York, NY 

James Prosek is an artist and naturalist whose work focuses on wildlife. His large-scale watercolors show the intricate patterning and vibrant colors of fish, the result of a lifelong passion for angling that has taken him around the world. Recent works, such as Parrotfishe, have explored systems of taxonomy and the ways we manipulate nature. In this work he pokes fun at the fish family name “parrotfish” by creating a hybrid creature that lives up to its moniker. Another large watercolor portrays in great detail the Tarpon fish, which is known for its ability to fight both natural and human predators. The other organisms depicted in this drawing—the lobster and the sea grape plant—do not relate to the fish scientifically, but rather serve to create a hierarchy in the drawing, demonstrating the artist’s freedom to invent his own taxonomies. Prosek shares this passion with Bashford Dean, who created systems of classification for both fish and armor.

Prosek’s work has been exhibited widely in natural history and art museums, including the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA; National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT. He has also published numerous books, including Ocean Fishes: Paintings of Saltwater Fish (Rizzoli, 2012) and Trout of the World (Abrams, 2013). He was artist-in-residence at the Addison Gallery of American Art in 2013 and at the Academy of Natural Sciences in 2012. He is currently a curatorial affiliate of Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. Prosek received his BA from Yale University.

Parrotfishe, 2009
Watercolor, gouache, colored pencil and graphite on paper
24” x 33”
Courtesy of the artist and Schwartz-Wajahat, New York, NY  

Tarpon, 2012
Watercolor, gouache, colored pencil and graphite on tea-stained paper
42” x 50”

Parrotfishe
, 2009
Watercolor, gouache, colored pencil and graphite on paper
24” x 33”
Courtesy of the artist and Schwartz-Wajahat, New York, NY  
Photo: Ken Goebel 

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts. 
 

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