Natural Expressions: Collected Landscapes from the IMAS Vault celebrates visual artists who observed natural scenes and creatively recorded what they saw. These 32 works of art were carefully chosen from the permanent collection to inspire audiences: transporting the viewer to a specific time and place, recalling an artist’s special memory, or examining details of a particular outdoor setting.
The landscapes include scenes of country sides, mountains, forests, jungles, and wilderness that shape the earth. Several works show the effects of weather and climate, while others convey a specific time of day or season. Some landscapes appear untouched by humans. Even when people and animals are pictured, they are secondary in importance to the natural setting. The art works represent four continents and inject an international flavor to the exhibit. Great range is also demonstrated in size (miniature to gigantic) and media (oil, watercolor, mixed media, and lithography).
Some of the landscape subjects may be familiar, as in the art of E. E. Nichols and Mamie Parvin Brown who painted the popular Rio Grande Valley locations they admired. Working about one hundred years apart, both artists captured outdoor images easily recognized by today’s South Texas residents and visitors.
Visitors often wonder how the artworks shown in exhibits such as this one came to IMAS. Items from generous donors and museum purchases have contributed over 14,000 art objects to form the museum’s permanent collection which is held in public trust.
Preserving and protecting works of art is an obligation for IMAS. This requires assigning each of the 14,000 objects an identification number and storing them in the “vault” (a secured temperature and humidity-controlled space). The art in this exhibit, dating from the 17th century to the present, is kept safe and maintained so it may continue to be studied and put on exhibit for future generations of museum visitors.
Mary Nettie Rodriguez, Guest Curator