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View "Portraits of the Prairie" Exhibit

View "Portraits of the Prairie" Exhibit

Friday, November 4, 2011

It is often called "Catherland"-Webster County, Nebraska, where the quintessential American novelist Willa Cather spent her childhood and found inspiration for her stories of European immigrants on the prairie. Richard Schilling, with his watercolor paintings and ink sketches, conducts us to that land, to scenes that might have influenced Cather, but as they appear today. Schilling's images take us to Red Cloud, Cather's childhood home; to the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie, a botanical jewel of mixed-grass prairie which is being restored to its pre-1900 condition; and on the "the divide," the high prairie land between the Little Blue River to the north and the Republican River to the south. Each evocative original watercolor is paired with an excerpt from Cather's work and with the author/artist's own musings on the history, geography, and ecology of the landscape.

Richard Schilling, who traveled the world as a missionary dentist and part-time officer aboard cruise ships, chronicled his adventures in his book, Watercolor Journeys. He has been an artist-in-residence in Isle Royale and mesa Verde national parks and currently lives in Loveland, Colorado. Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate (2004-6) and 2005 winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, a University of Nebraska Presidential Professor, wrote the forward to the Schilling book Portraits of the Prairie: The Land That Inspired Willa Cather.

Portraits of the Prairie: The Land That Inspired Willa Cather
Now Showing in the Gallery Through December 15