The exhibition by James Proseck, Contra Naturam at the Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables, Miami, is inspired by the 1700s-1800s naturalists. Artist, writer and naturalist who graduated from Yale, his passion for studying, observing and representing animal species above all, but not only, originates when he is still a boy. Over time he deepens his passions by studying the skills that lead him to graduation. He is only nineteen when he writes his first book and does so with a curious subject: Trouts (Trout: an Illustrated History, 1996), for which he composes 70 works.
The works on display at the Lowe, recalling the wall panels and the old hand-painted books, are rich in colors and nuances made in watercolor, pastel, gouache, acrylic and oil, represented with precision.
While the real works touch the limits of science, the preparation of the exhibition hall intrigues the viewer because it seems to be projected into an album of figurines, in which the figurines are represented by black shapes, numbered and real dimensioned, painted on the walls by the author. Along the exhibition path one would expect to find correspondence with the animal in question in a didactic index, while James Proseck deliberately omits it, leaving the viewer curious and intrigued, free to deepen the topic. Proseck who wrote for the New York Times and for Geographic Magazine, has a life dedicated to nature, starting from the foundation of a conservation initiative, the World Trout, together with the founder of the clothing brand Patagonia that deals with to raise funds for the conservation of cold water habitats through the sale of t-shirts with painted trout on them, which allowed to collect a good $ 2 million, founding over 200 fish conservation groups.
Member of the Board of Directors of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and member of the Yale Institute’s Advisory Board for Biosphere Studies, James Proseck won the Peabody Award for the documentary on Traveling through England in the footsteps of Izaak Walton, author in the seventeenth century of The Compleat Angler and in 2012 Prosek received the gold medal for the distinction in art of natural history from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Among his first-person engagements are the seminars on the rapidly evolving ecosystem of South Florida. He has composed numerous books including: Trout of the World, a must-have for the recreational fisherman’s library and the ichthyologist.
His works have been exhibited in numerous galleries, including the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York, the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, the Yale Center for British Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, with solo exhibitions at the Oldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT, the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, North Carolina Museum of Art and the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC