A Brush with Nature: Abstract Naturalism and the Painting of Life
Afterword by Nick Paumgarten
An arresting collection of diverse painted works and ink-on-paper drawings appear in the first monograph of esteemed wildlife artist Alex Beard. He is best known for his elaborate wildlife compositions, created in his signature style of gestural painting, which he has coined "Abstract Naturalism."
Drawing on patterns that are ubiquitous throughout nature—the spiral shape of a seashell, for example, mirrors that of the spiral of the galaxy—Beard begins with a spiral-like focal point in his paintings, inspired by the "Divine proportion" or Golden Ratio. Using this principle of visual mathematics as a springboard, Beard creates art that is truly distinctive, complex, and whimsical. Divided into three sections, Ink, Oil, and Abstract, the author presents elegant cranes, majestic elephants, gorgeous peacocks, curious monkeys, brightly-hued seashells in a jigsaw pattern, as well as fantastic renderings of other wildlife.
Through his artwork, Beard illuminates the interconnectedness of the universe and the joys found in nature. Patterned animal collages seem to emphasize the circle of life and beg us to ask larger existential questions. The tome also includes brilliant abstract paintings, as well as paintings of humans.
About the Authors:
Alex Beard is a painter and author who has emerged as one of his generation's most creative and successful artists. His artwork hangs in public and private collections around the world. He studied art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts and participated in the New York Studio School's Drawing Marathon. His first solo exhibition was in SoHo during his early twenties. Since then, he has had significant one-man shows in New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and in cities as far as Hong Kong.
Nick Paumgarten is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He was a deputy editor of "The Talk of the Town" from 2000 to 2005 to which he regularly contributes. Before coming to the magazine, he was a reporter and senior editor at the New York Observer. He lives in New York City.