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Cincinnati nature-inspired art exhibition inspires appreciation of beauty and need for conservation

CINCINNATI – The beauty of nature has long been a muse for artists. Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) is showcasing the nature-inspired landscape artwork of artist Michael Scott alongside works from the museum’s own collections in the exhibition America’s Epic Treasures featuring Preternatural by Michael Scott, now open.

America’s Epic Treasures features 33 major works organized around Earth’s four natural elements: fire, water, air and earth. The immersive art exhibition showcases the beauty of natural landscapes and the destructive and rejuvenating nature of the elements. Vibrant colors and skillful execution create dynamic textures and compositions that draw you into the artwork, evoking a greater appreciation for the magic and mystery of nature. Scott’s onsite field studies included in the exhibition provide a look into the artist’s process.

“Scott’s paintings offer a place where the natural world, the human world and the world of the spirit or the soul can commingle,” said MaLin Wilson-Powell, art historian and author. “Together they comprise an arena that oscillates between what is there and what is not there, what the artist brings to it and what the viewer brings to it.”

Alongside Scott’s works are a dozen pieces from CMC’s own collections, featuring local landscapes by artists including Rudolph Tschudi, John Caspar Wild, William Louis Sonntag and Robert S. Duncanson. The artwork, primarily from the 19th century, includes views of Cincinnati from across the river in Covington, Newport and Forest Hills as well as the Mill Creek, Burnet Woods, Ault Park and more. A selection of animal specimens and fossils will connect the natural worlds depicted in the artwork.

“The interplay of science and art are at the core of our mission. Science creates nature, nature inspires art and the interplay between the two creates magic, wonder and enlightenment,” said Elizabeth Pierce, president & CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “America’s Epic Treasures is a visually-stunning and evocative introduction to topics of climate change, habitat destruction and the conservation of wild spaces through the lens of artists who love and appreciate the beauty of nature.”

Scott received his MFA from the University of Cincinnati and has been exhibiting artwork for over 40 years. Scott’s paintings are in numerous private and corporate collections, as well as the permanent collections of the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio; the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi; Cincinnati Art Museum; New Orleans Museum of Art; Tia Collection in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles; Tyson Collection of Contemporary Art in Springdale, Arkansas; Southern Ohio Museum in Portsmouth; Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Whitney Western Art Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center for the West in Cody, Wyoming; and the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky.

“This is a rare opportunity to see, together in one place, expressive paintings of 19th century life in and around Cincinnati,” said Kate Bonansinga, director of the School of Art at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. “It reminds us of how our city has grown and changed, and how nature offers a reprieve to urban life, both then and now.”

Also featured in the exhibition is “Regeneration,” a multimedia installation that examines the link between racial justice and climate change through the lens of indigenous peoples. Curated by musician Erin Fung and Sahtu Dene filmmaker Tate Juniper, the installation explores Indigenous perspectives on changing landscapes, the magnitude of the erasure of First Nations people and the global impact of local plastics production and pollution. “Regeneration” offers authentic dialogue between hunters, artists, elders and youth in an immersive recreation of a roundtable discussion and in individual interviews within the northern community of Inuvik, Northwest Territories. “Regeneration” is funded through a 2022 Black and Brown Artist Grant from ArtsWave. Fung is one of 22 BIPOC artists creating projects this year that explore the theme of “truth and reconciliation.”

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America’s Epic Treasures featuring Preternatural by Michael Scott