Starry Nights: Visions of the Night Sky—Wildling Museum Online Exhibit Explores Nocturne Painting, Astrophotography and Light Pollution

  • April 05, 2020 17:36

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Lockwood de Forest (1850 - 1932), "Moon in Trailing Clouds," May 1901, oil on canvas, courtesy Sullivan Goss Gallery
Aya Okawa, "Human Constellation," digital photographic print, courtesy the artist.
Eric Merrell, "Alternate Universe," oil on canvas, courtesy the artist.
Charles Rollo Peters (1862 - 1928), "Moonlit Adobe," 1924, oil on canvas, courtesy California Art Company
Las Cumbres Observatory, ic 5146, the Cocoon Nebula, digital photographic print, taken by BJ Fulton
Paul Dougherty (1877 - 1947), "Moonlit Surf," oil on canvas, courtesy California Art Company
John Wesley Cotton (1868 - 1931), "Silent Night, Santa Barbara," 1924, color aquatint on wove paper, artist's proof, courtesy James Main Fine Art
Brady Cabe, "Standing in Awe," 2015, digital photographic print, courtesy the artist.

If you're enjoying the Pink Supermoon this week, pair your lunar looking with some nocturnes in art. The Wildling Museum of Art and Nature in Solvang, California, offers a dazzling virtual view of its exhibition Starry Nights: Visions of the Night Sky.

The expanse of the open night sky has served as a source of wonder for artists, poets, and scientists across cultures and millennia. The exhibition celebrates the awe-inspiring beauty and mystery of the night across a range of media, including painting and photography, as well as poetry by Dan Gerber.

“The Wildling is in the middle of the Santa Ynez Valley, which is no stranger to sightings of the Milky Way, but most people don’t get to have nightly visits with the stars the way we do,” says Executive Director Stacey Otte-Demangate. “We hope this exhibition inspires wonder and appreciation for our night skies through a wide variety of artistic interpretations, but also reminds people not to take our views for granted.”

Featured works range from astrophotography captured by Goleta’s Las Cumbres Observatory telescope network, to the nocturne paintings of early California artists Fernand Lungren, Lockwood de Forest, Charles Rollo Peters, and others.

Contemporary dreamscapes by Nathan Huff, twilight desert landscapes by Eric Merrell, and night sky photography, including recent works by third-generation photographer Marc Muench, are among the works encompassing the exhibition.

Starry Nights: Visions of the Night Sky also serves to illuminate the growing issue of light pollution – a modern phenomenon currently reported to impact more than 83 percent of the world’s population – and current local efforts to reduce its effects for the protection of nocturnal species.


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