Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art is the first major exhibition to explore the multifaceted meanings of these outdoor subjects in painting and sculpture. This groundbreaking project addresses a theme popular throughout American history that carries great resonance in the present day.
Wild Spaces, Open Seasons presents a wide variety of portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and genre scenes, including iconic works by Thomas Cole, Thomas Eakins, and Winslow Homer. Representations of hunting and fishing as recreational pastimes contrast with images of hunting for sustenance, necessity, and commercial enterprise. Dangers and threats were inevitably part of hunting and fishing, and differ distinctly from depictions of hunting as a demonstration of fellowship and camaraderie.
This exhibition also investigates the persistence of mythological associations prevalent to hunting and fishing and the ritualistic and spiritual aspects of the practice. Finally, the exhibition displays American artists mastery of trompe loeil painting with works that address the aesthetic display of the trophies of the hunt and the catch.
Wild Spaces, Open Seasons is organized by Dixon Gallery and Gardens
, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Joslyn Art Museum, and Shelburne Museum, and is accompanied by a scholarly catalogue published by the University of Oklahoma Press, edited by Kevin Sharp, with essays by the exhibitions four curators, Margaret C. Adler, Shirley Reece-Hughes, Kory W. Rogers, and Adam M. Thomas. Available for purchase at 20Twelve at the Dixon.