Studying Art and Nature at CNC

This fall at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, visitors are invited to meditate on the relationships between art and nature. Through a collection of special exhibits and activities we ask, “How can we use art to strengthen our connection with nature, and in what ways can the natural world influence our creativity?”

Nature encourages us to engage all our senses, even if we don’t consciously realize it. We smell flowers or the rain, we hear the call of birds and insects, and we see the red leaves of fall. We are often calmed and inspired by this immersion in nature, and, for many, this inspiration translates to art.

Van Gough was endlessly inspired by the natural world around him, saying in a letter to his brother, “Sometimes I long so much to do landscape, just as one would for a long walk to refresh oneself, and in all of nature, in trees for instance, I see expression and a soul, as it were.” Even Jackson Pollock’s artwork, known for its abstract essence, utilizes repetitive patterns called fractals which are also found in nature.

This translation of nature to art is showcased in the Double Vision Art Gallery at CNC. Photographers from the Georgia Nature Photographers Association have captured beautiful images of nature, and artists from the Roswell Fine Arts Alliance have recreated these images using a variety of different mediums.

The gallery is on display in the Discovery Center through the end of November, and visitors are invited to create their own artwork inspired by a selection of nature photos in the Nature Exchange.

Double Vision is not the only art gallery at the CNC this fall. The Nature Exchange is hosting a contest in which participants are challenged to create a sculpture of their favorite songbird using only recycled materials.

This Recycled Animal Gallery will be on display through November 30th. Sculptures can be submitted in Nature Exchange before November 16th, and the contest winner will be announced on that day.

Just as nature can inspire us to create art, art can also instill in us a greater appreciation for nature. In a society where we spend so much time indoors, a watercolor of the sunset or a photograph of a butterfly may remind us to pause and take stock of the natural wonders around us.

There are some artists who take this relationship a step further, using natural materials as their medium in a form of art referred to as “Land Art.” These pieces are often impermanent and designed to draw the viewers’ attention to parts of nature that they may otherwise overlook.

At CNC, visitors can create their own forms of land art through the Naturally Artistic Special Exhibit. They can paint with water at the Zen Water Painting station, create mosaics out of natural objects at the Earth Mosaic station, tell stories through light and shadow at the Shadow Play station, and illustrate the movement of the air with the Windy Wishing Wheels.

Even without galleries and art exhibits, many of us engage with nature and art on a daily basis. With cameras and smartphones we can express both our creativity and our appreciation for nature through photography.

CNC has created a Community Collage to showcase these works of art. If you have nature photos that you’ve taken while visiting the CNC, send them to the Nature Exchange staff at natureexchange@chattnaturecenter.org. The photos will be printed and hung on the wall in the Nature Exchange for visitors to see.

When you visit CNC, take a moment to pause and appreciate the beauty around you. Engage all your senses as you explore the outside world, and use these experiences to create something, be it a drawing, a photograph, or a sculpture. Share your work with us, and help CNC celebrate art and nature this fall.

The mission of the Chattahoochee Nature Center is to connect people with nature. For more information visit www.chattnaturecenter.org.