Summoning up John James Audubon, Carl Linnaeus, and venerable field guides, these imaginative reconstructions of flora and fauna by self-taught artist, naturalist, and author James Prosek offered a tantalizing mix of abstract and realistic art, art history, and science. Perhaps the most eye-catching of Prosek’s works was the full-wall painting featuring black silhouettes of passenger pigeons, extinct since the early 20th century. Attached to the painting was a small panel near the bottom right displaying the birds’ splendid coloration. The work reprised a much larger version. In addition, there were little numbers placed throughout the work, as if referring to information about the pigeons, but none was forthcoming.
A version of this story originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of ARTnews on page 83.
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