John Banovich joins the ranks of artists who, through their desire to understand the fascinating world of animals, have been compelled to capture their likeness through personal artistic expression.
From the earliest simple, yet powerful cave paintings of horses from Lascaux, France to the highly detailed watercolor of a young hare by Renaissance master Albrecht Durer; from John James Audubon`s "Nine Banded Armadillo" to the shocking "Tiger Shark" sculpture by contemporary artist Damien Hirst, animals continue to serve as worthy subjects for creative departure.
Largely ignored as a subject throughout most of art history, wildlife art began to reemerge as society began the scientific study and cataloguing of nature in the late 17th century to the mid 19th century. Audubon captured wild birds and mammals of North America and usually sketched from dead specimens reanimated on forms.
In France, Maria Rosa Bonheur quickly gained popularity and fame for her romantic, painterly style of animal realism which was less rigid than Audubon. Significantly, both Audubon and Bonheur are represented in the collection of the Museum of the Southwest.
Among today`s genre of wildlife artists, John Banovich is regarded as one of the best. Following in the tradition of the late 19th and early 20th century conservationist and wildlife artist Carl Rungius, Banovich was similarly raised as a sportsman and wildlife enthusiast. Like Rungius, his experiences of hunting and exploration gave him direct access to wildlife and an intimate understanding of animal anatomy which found full expression in his art.
To view a painting by John Banovich is to view the rich history of "animals in art" thoroughly assimilated and reapplied through his personal lens. His style and approach are well grounded in the realist tradition demonstrating great technical skill and creative vision compelling the viewer to see the beauty, uniqueness, and power of wildlife together with the elements of compassion and respect.
Thomas W. Jones
Museum of the Southwest
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