Wild Spaces, Open Seasons
Kevin Sharp, editor
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780806154626, $45.00, HC, 204pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Compiled and edited by Kevin Sharp (the Linda W. and S. Herbert Rhea Director of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee) "Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art" is comprised of four major articles by art experts traces the theme of hunting and fishing in American art from the early nineteenth century through World War II.
Describing a remarkable group of American paintings and sculpture, these erudite contributors reveal the pervasiveness of the subjects and the fascinating contexts from which they emerged. In one important example after another, the contributors demonstrate that representations of hunting and fishing did more than illustrate subsistence activities or diverting pastimes. The portrayal of American hunters and fishers also spoke to American ambitions and priorities.
In his introduction, noted outdoorsman and author Stephen J. Bodio surveys the book's major artists, who range from society painters to naturalists and modernists. Margaret C. Adler then explores how hunting and fishing imagery in American art reflects traditional myths, some rooted in classicism, others in the American appetite for tall tales. Kory W. Rogers, in his discussion of works that valorize the dangers hunters faced pursuing their prey, shows how American artists constructed new rituals at a time when the United States was rapidly transforming from a frontier society into a modern urban nation. Shirley Reece-Hughes looks at depictions of families, pairs, and parties of hunters and fishers and how social...