Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding

Thursday, May 03, 2007


During the late Jurassic Period, in what is now central Utah, a dinosaur browsed along the edge of a bog. The animal was a Camptosaurus, a common herbivore similar to the better-known Iguanodon. As it entered the shallows, it became mired in sticky clay and was unable to extract itself. Its panicked thrashing soon attracted a passing group of Allosaurus, a common theropod dinosaur species. The carnivores were no less vulnerable to the trap, and that evening the sun set on several gigantic corpses barely protruding from the surface of the shallow water. It is speculated that similar scenarios played out a number of times in this spot, which is known today as the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry. Well over 10,000 dinosaur bones, representing at least nine genera, have been retrieved from the Quarry. Most of the remains have belonged to theropod dinosaurs, including Ceratosaurus, Marshosaurus, Stokesosaurus, and forty-some-odd individual Allosaurus. In a typical site, these large carnivores would have represented but a small fraction of the remains.

Last weekend, the Cleveland-Lloyd Quarry officially opened its brand-spanking new visitor's center, and I was pleased that they used some of the paintings I did for Frank DeCourten's Dinosaurs of Utah in their signage. I'm always apprehensive when graphic artists start manipulating my images, but my fears were assuaged by the tasteful and informative graphics the Quarry had designed for them. The Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry is just off Highway 10, about 25 miles south of Price, Utah.

Elsewhere in North America, my work is included in three shows opening this weekend. Masterpieces In Miniature is at Picture This! Gallery in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Small works by 40 invited North American Artists will be up until May 24th, when a drawing for sold work will be held.

The Spring Salon is the finest annual exhibition of Utah representational art, and it opens tomorrow evening at the Springville Art Museum, in the grand style that we've all come to take for granted. I took a peek at the show this morning, and it's really spectacular. There are dozens of pieces there that I either wish I had painted or that I could paint. The show will run through June.

Sunday, May 6th marks the opening of a new travelling exhibition, “Paws and Reflect: the Art of Canines.” This group show, curated by David J. Wagner PhD, represents a diverse cross-section of art inspired by the family Canidae. Included are three paintings of mine: one of Maned Wolves, one of a Bat-eared Fox, and the one above, which depicts a pair of Osbornodon, probably the most successful canid genus ever, having survived from early in the Oligocene (about 34 million years ago) until the late Miocene (about 14 million years ago). It died out about 7 million years before the first true dogs of the genus Canis appeared. “Paws and Reflect” opens at the Dunnegan Gallery of Art in Bolivar Missouri, where it will run until June 15, when it will travel to the Wildlife Experience Museum in Denver.

I've posted before about “Art of the Rainforest,” a ten-person show with a tropical rainforest theme, including paintings by Richard Sloan, who passed away last month. The show, which has been touring since 2005, opens on May 8th at the new Exhibition Hall at the Detroit Zoo. It will run until September 8.


Blogger burning silo said...

Congratulations on all of the shows and the dinosaur display - I agree, it turned out very nice!

6:52 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

Are those Osbornodon hunting a Palaeocastor?

The exhibit looks nice, congrats. Perhaps we'll have to make a short detour down to Cleveland-Lloyd on our trek out to the Wind Rivers this summer!

1:49 PM  
Blogger Darren Naish said...

Wow. As I type, I have a copy of DeCourten's Dinosaurs of Utah sat on the desk next to me. Until now, I never realised that you'd done the artwork. I'd say 'small world' but I won't, because I hate that phrase..

10:04 AM  
Blogger Carel Brest van Kempen said...

Burning Silo: Thanks, Bev!
Neil: Could be, could be! If those dogs start to corkscrew as they dig, we'll know you're right.
Darren: Okay, then, I'll say it ... okay, on second thought, I won't.

10:48 AM  

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