Originally featured in Points West magazine in Fall/Winter 2016
Yellowstone Composition No. 1 by James Prosek
James Prosek is an artist, naturalist, and author. His paintings urge us to think about our relationship, as humans, to the natural world around us. How do the lines we draw in nature influence how we think about and act toward nature? The lines we draw may be conceptual—for example, the divisions we create when we assign names and classifications to plants and animals. Or, these lines may be very real, like the lines we draw on maps. For the special exhibition Invisible Boundaries: Exploring Yellowstone’s Great Animal Migrations [which was on view at the Center in 2016], Prosek focused on the man-made line demarcating Yellowstone National Park and what lies around it.
Created especially for Invisible Boundaries, Yellowstone Composition No. 1 depicts, in silhouette, more than seven hundred animals from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Prosek painted twelve creatures in brilliant color and exquisite detail. These are among Yellowstone’s long-distance migrants, which regularly pass through the area. Though these migrating species spend time within the Park, its borders certainly cannot contain them. As Prosek beautifully illustrates, the seasonal journeys of itinerant animals connect Yellowstone to far-flung places well beyond its boundaries.
James Prosek. “Yellowstone Composition No. 1,” 2016. Mixed media on wood panel. William E. Weiss Memorial Fund Purchase. 3.16.1 — Photography: Tim Nighswander/ IMAGING4ART