“Biodiversity in the Art of Carel Pieter Brest van Kampen” will be on display at the Chadron State College Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center this week through Sept. 30.
Sandoz Center Director Sarah Polak said this special, small exhibition focuses on the North American artworks of Brest van Kampen in honor of the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s signing of the Wilderness Act on September 3, 1963.
The coffee table book Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding—The Art of Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen, written by the Utah artist, is available in the Sandoz Center gift shop.
In his artist’s statement, Brest van Kampen said, “As human impact on the natural world increases, our routine awareness of that world and our active participation in its processes diminish. But whether it’s visible to us or not, our lives are irrevocably dovetailed into the vibrating matrix of nature. It’s my hope that the little stories told in my paintings might awaken in the viewer a heightened sensitivity to the tiny ripples broadcast throughout that natural matrix by every one of its components.”
Since childhood, Brest van Kempen has been fascinated by nature. He spent his youth drawing, studying, and collecting native flora and fauna in the untracked back country along the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains.
As a boy, Brest van Kempen practiced falconry and bred lizards. He began drawing wildlife when he was three years old and created his first painting at 12. As a student at the University of Utah, his studies focused on biology, which he hoped to teach. By 1988, he was pursuing a full-time career of painting. Brest van Kempen, known for his unique, highly realistic style, is essentially self-taught.
Brest van Kempen has exhibited his works throughout the world and earned numerous awards. He is a member of the prestigious Society of Animal Artists which has awarded him awards on multiple occasions, including their highest honor, the Award of Excellence.
Public collections containing his works include the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin and the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho.
The Sandoz Center is free and open to the public from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. Saturday. The center is closed Sunday and college holidays. For more information, contact Polak at 308-432-6401.
“Biodiverstiy in the Art of Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen, Produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C., David J. Wagner Ph.D. Curator/Tour Director” is a nationally traveling exhibition which is locally sponsored by Chadron State College.