JIM COUPER: THERE ARE NO OTHER EVERGLADES IN THE WORLD
On View Sept. 12 – Nov. 1 at The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum (Opening Reception is free and open to the public on Saturday, Sept. 12 (4-7p.m.)
This exhibition features a new series of paintings by Jim Couper, professor emeritus in the Department of Art and Art History at FIU, and the founding director of the Art Museum at FIU.
According to Couper, “It’s the experience of the wild landscape, not a picture of it that interests me.” The Florida Everglades are the artist’s favorite place to paint; unfortunately, he has witnessed the Everglades decline over the years.
He stated, “I never feel as inspired as when I am in nature – as far away as possible from any traces of human intervention. My work is a humble acknowledgment of the wonder that is being taken from us.” He made this choice because of concerns for the preservation of what remains of the Everglades. This concern is the conceptual basis for making this body of work, and the Everglades provides an endless source of visual and spiritual inspiration for Couper.
“Marjorie Stoneman Douglas’ classic book The Everglades: River of Grass begins with the eloquent sentence There are no other Everglades in the world. These eight words not only express the singularity of her subject, they also imply a warning about the fragility of this unique treasure,” said Jim Couper.
“Unfortunately Ms. Douglas’ concern becomes obvious when one sees what has befallen this incomparable wonder in the sixty years since her book was published in 1947.”
“Development, industrial agriculture, water mismanagement, road building and even an attempted airport constructed in the heart of the Everglades provide a sad testament to our treatment of a place so special. It is this remaining beauty and wonder, and my concern for its future, that provide the basis for my work. I want my paintings to reflect a celebration of this treasure, to concentrate on the essence of this hallowed place,” adds Couper.
“Jim Couper’s vision is expansive,” said the Director of The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU, Dr. Jordana Pomeroy.
“What appear to be straightforward depictions of sky and water are, in fact, complex statements about the stability and fragility of the natural world. The intricate Everglades ecology exists nowhere else in the world. Couper’s approach to painting the landscape is not that of scientific documentarian but a personal expression of awe and respect — like a spiritual revelation: that which has been is that which shall be,” says Dr. Pomeroy.
PANEL DISCUSSION ABOUT CONSERVING THE EVERGLADES
Saturday, Oct. 3rd at 3p.m. at the Frost Art Museum (free and open to the public)
The museum’s Education Curator, Miriam Machado, presents an educational panel about conserving the Everglades (Saturday, Oct. 3 at 3p.m., free and open to the public).
Panelists include the artist Jim Couper; Dr. Evelyn Gaiser (Executive Director of FIU’sSEAS – The School of Environment, Arts and Society); Professor Peter Machonis; Cultural Ecologist and author Thomas E. Lodge; Assoc. Professor & Panel Moderator Nick Oehm; and Professor Elite Kedan/Artists in Residency in the Everglades.
“Sub-tropical light continuously alters the light and color of a watery prairie in the Everglades. Stars and planets pierce a black sky, which Couper gazes upon at night from his elevated encampment called a chickee,” adds Dr. Pomeroy.
The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, the Smithsonian Affiliate in Miami, opened its current 46,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art building in November 2008. Admission to the Museum is always free. The Frost is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and is located at 10975 SW 17th Street (across from the Blue Garage and adjacent to the Wertheim Performing Arts Center on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus). Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday noon – 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays and most legal holidays. In association with the Smithsonian since 2000, the Frost Art Museum FIU is part of a select group of museums, cultural, educational, and arts organizations that share the Smithsonian’s resources with the nation. For more information, please visit thefrost.fiu.edu or call 305-348-2890.
Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. It is a public research university with colleges and schools that offers more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU contributes $8.9 billion each year to the local economy. FIU is Worlds Ahead in finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission. FIU has awarded over 200,000 degrees and enrolls more than 54,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell, FIU@I-75, and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. FIU also supports artistic and cultural engagement through its three museums: the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. FIU is a member of Conference USA and has over 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/