William Woods artists promote nature through their work

A William Woods University art professor and two of his students are “Communicating the Majesty of the Natural World” through art exhibits planned in various locations around Missouri.

The exhibits are part of a Mentor/Mentee project involving Terry Martin, professor of art, and students Sarah Williams of Brookfield, Mo., and Holly Dirnberger of Oran, Mo.

Exhibits at the Callaway Bank in Fulton and the Springfield (Mo.) Conservation Nature Center will be on display through February. A third exhibit will begin in Marceline, Mo., in March and run through April.

Other venues planned are the Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City in May and the Margaret Harwell Museum in Poplar Bluff, Mo., in spring of 2006.

The displays reflect exploration, of media and methods, in a variety of media. Their artistic goal was to match certain media and methods with the diversity of wildlife and nature. The pieces of art displayed are selected from a larger body of work.

“By showing our work around this state we hope to promote the Mentor/Mentee program at our university and also motivate persons who enjoy art and nature to take a closer look at both,” Martin said. “We hope the outcome of our work will encourage conservation practices as well.”

Williams said, “Being involved in the Mentor/Mentee Program has given me wonderful opportunities to record how I see nature through exploration of materials and then to have them displayed for the public to see. This year, along with using more traditional mediums like oils and acrylics, I have been making collages which I feel are very dynamic and show a different side of the subjects that I portray.”

According to Martin, the preparation for this project required much reflection, sketching, and planning.

“We began our art production with joint discussions about outdoor memories and possible art methods, which might enhance the portrayal of certain subjects. The project required encouragement, and creative use of art media,” he said.

The artists hope that persons who see the exhibits will enjoy their diverse expressions. The creative work includes watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastel (chalk) and collage.

“We hope viewers of our exhibit will react with a desire to make their own discoveries whether they are through art or through interaction with nature. We approach our work with a belief that visual expression and communication can be powerful when one is inventive and confident,” Martin said.

The goal, he said, is to show others the wonders of common materials used in creative ways.

“Nothing is ordinary if one looks for beauty. Look very closely at frost on a surface or even leaves on the ground and discover a wonderful design!”