Field guides uniquely marry art, design, and science to satisfy a deep human need for connection with the natural world. In order to better understand the significant role of field guide art in fostering this connection, Art of the Field Guide will compare the work of two masters of field guide art, Roger Tory Peterson and David Sibley – exhibited together for the first time. This exhibition will inform visitors about the origin and development of the modern-day field guide, why field guide art is effective as an educational tool, and how we can better understand field guide art by placing it within the broader context of the history of art.
Through an in-depth exploration of the education, influences, and stylistic evolution of both artists, Art of the Field Guide will reflect on the impact and legacy of these two significant field guide artists. The exhibition will include original drawings and paintings by Peterson and Sibley, encouraging visitors to consider how their artistic techniques and sense of design combine to produce stunning and effective visual references with which we can name the birds. Visitors will learn about the subtle ways in which field guide art helps us to discover the diversity and complexity of nature, and how field guides foster a connection with and appreciation for the natural world.