Wildlife art takes center stage at the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition Feb. 17-19 in Charleston. Collectors, admirers and wildlife lovers will be captivated by the incredible creations from artists around the globe. From sculpture and oil painting to watercolors and pastels, the variety of artwork comes to life at SEWE. These four artists featured at SEWE this year have completely different artistic styles but come together in their love of wildlife artwork.
LAURA W. ADAMS
Georgia artist Laura W. Adams is a self-taught artist and fine art gallery owner. In her unique artistic style, Adams layers different patterned and textured papers with inclusions to
create unique representations of nature and wildlife.
She doesn’t use any paint in her artistic process. Instead, she may use 20 or more layers of paper to construct her pieces, giving them a sculptural look. The result, she says, is a unique “painting” of extraordinary depth, color and dimension.
Adams says she’s always been drawn to the color and texture of paper. She loves combining elements to create something new, yet recognizable to the viewer.
“I love the immediacy and hands-on nature of cutting, shredding and ripping paper, and I love the serendipity of the layering process,” Adams explains. “The papers blend in to each other, layer over layer, and create something entirely new.”
This is Adams’ fourth year presenting at SEWE, where she hopes to impact viewers beyond simple visuals. “I am hoping the viewer comes away from my work with a sense of peace and love of nature,” she says. “Art is a wonderful way to communicate with others in a more sensory way. I can say things in a painting that I can’t say in words.”
JULIE T. CHAPMAN
Julie T. Chapman was a self-described “horse-obsessed child.” As an adult, she continues to draw horses along with the rodeo of the modern American West. She describes her wildlife artwork as “strongly lit, high-contrast images” that provide visual drama through colorful oils and intensive scratchboard – a painstaking medium in which the artist incises through a black ink layer to reveal the white clay board beneath.
“I combine realism with abstraction to draw the viewer’s attention to the drama of my beloved animals,” she says. “I don’t depict the setting for my subject; instead, my subject is my landscape, and the design of my compositions lets the beauty and personality of each animal shine like a jewel.”
Chapman will be displaying her artwork at SEWE for the fourth year. She returns to the event year after year because of the enthusiastic collectors and attendees. “Talking about my work with SEWE visitors gives me great joy, and I return home to my studio with fresh energy after each show.”
JENNIFER L. HOFFMAN
A newcomer to SEWE this year, Jennifer L. Hoffman has been painting landscapes for more than 20 years. As a child she was drawn to nature and that connection has grown deeper and become a bigger part of her work over the years.
Hoffman started as an oil
painter, but about 10 years ago picked up a set of pastels and fell in love with their texture and the opportunity to mix colors.
She does a lot of “scumbling” – dragging one opaque color over another without fully mixing them – letting them mix “visually” to create a vibration of color and light, Hoffman explains.
She gathers her inspiration from nature around her home, and often paints plein air where she can observe the effects of lights, seasons and weather on a landscape.
“I think there’s something that translates in a work of art when the artist feels very connected to it or knows it personally, and I hope that viewers relate to that connection,” she says.
A self-described “Midwest farm kid at heart,” Ryan Kirby says land, livestock and wildlife were always a part of life and his family roots. Over the years, he developed a passion for hunting and the outdoors.
“There’s nothing better than getting close to wildlife on their own terms, in their own habitat, and then sharing that moment with others through art,” he says.
Kirby prefers painting wildlife he’s hunted and observed in their natural surroundings, particularly wild turkeys, white-tailed deer and elk. This is the fourth year Kirby will have his work at SEWE. He hopes those attendees viewing his work will see his paintings through a hunter’s eye, he says. Kirby strives to convey in his work the same adrenaline and awe he experiences seeing a deer emerge from the woods or a turkey crest the hill.
“If I can convey that brief, awe-inspiring moment in time to the viewer in a way that moves and inspires them, then I feel I’ve succeeded as a wildlife artist,” he says.
To learn more about the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, visit SEWE.com.