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Monroe Arts Center exhibit captures beauty of Yellowstone

January 30, 2013

Online Staff Report

MONROE, Wis. — The upcoming exhibition, hosted by the Monroe Arts Center, will be “Here’s Mud In Your Eye,” displayed in the Frehner Gallery. This special exhibition presents works inspired by the amazing natural features of Yellowstone National Park.

Artists Carrie Baxter and Nick Baxter provide an intriguing comparison of the park’s hot springs, mud flats and microbial mats through the eyes of a photographer and a painter.

The exhibition opens Friday, Feb. 1. MAC is at 1315 11th St., Monroe, Wis. Call (608) 325-5700 for more details.

Yellowstone became the world’s first national park in 1872. Tucked into the northwest corner of Wyoming, this park is an unpredictable 3,472-square-mile landscape filled with geysers, hot springs and mud pots. As a natural wonder, it is one of the most awe-inspiring places of North America, and as such, artists are drawn to it. The “Here’s Mud In Your Eye” exhibition will show works that capture the unpredictable landscape of Yellowstone.

Here’s Mud In Your Eye,” will present the photography and paintings by two northern Illinois artists, Nick and Carrie Baxter. The show will display a collection of artwork inspired by the natural scenery of Yellowstone National Park, observed by both Nick and Carrie during their visits to the park in 2010 and 2012.

The microbial mats and other surface textures surrounding the Yellowstone geysers and hot springs are decorated with colors and patterns, formed as a result of various types of earth and rock deposits, as well as growth of unique microbes and bacteria that are continually washed over by erupting waters. The multitudes of colors, particularly noticeable in and around hot springs, are caused by different types of microbes and bacteria that thrive in various levels of extreme temperatures. These naturally occurring abstracts are the inspiration for the works presented in the exhibition.

Nick Baxter’s photographs preserve the feel of movement on the surface of Yellowstone. Far from traditional landscapes, these photographs present the flow and rhythm of the ever-changing scenery within the park. Each photo holds a glimpse of the real-life vibrant colors of the life inside the hot springs and bacterial mats.

Carries Baxter’s paintings are inspired by the variety of surface textures observed while touring the park. Her paintings use a mixture of modeling paste and various grades of mortar pastes to build the surface and textures of each composition. The organic forms are then covered with layers of color to create the natural effects, produced over time, by the geysers and hot springs. Her technique of layering paint mimics the natural process that forms, and produces the unusual patterns and gradual growth of the microbial mats.

Together, the two mediums of photography and painting interact with one another to grasp the feeling, vision and even the emotion of Yellowstone National Park. The photographs act as glimpses into the sights of the park, while the paintings provide artist-inspired translations of the emotions produced by the landscape.

Posted Jan. 30, 2013

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