Abigail Yarrison ’24, Editor-in-Chief

Source: Brandywine Museum of Art
James Prosek, Moth Cluster IV, 2016

The Brandywine River Museum of Art explores climate change and environmental vulnerability in their new exhibit Fragile Earth: The Naturalist Impulse in Modern Art. The exhibit features sculptures, paintings, murals, and more from four leading modern artists: Jennifer Angus, Mark Dion, Courtney Mattison, and James Prosek. “These artists were selected for the profound message their works convey about environmental conservation. They transform natural and non-traditional materials, like insects and found debris, into art in order to make visible the human role in global climate change, and to reveal how our daily choices may endanger our planet’s future,” says Jennifer Stettler Parsons, the curator of Fragile Earth.

Artist and professor, Jennifer Angus, brings to the exhibit a reminder of insects’ importance to the ecosystem. Pinning insects to the wall in intricate patterns on top of her own wallpaper design makes for a unique experience. Explore a wide variety of insect species through her cabinet of curiosities installation.

Source: Brandywine Museum of Art, Jennifer Angus, Wistful Wild, 2022

Mark Dion is a conceptual artist specializing in presenting the mistreatment of environment in creative sculptures and object arrangements. On display is his New England Cabinet of Marine Debris (Lyme Art Colony) (2019) which includes items collected along the New England shore, and Still Life in Black in White (2022), representing the threat oil spills pose to penguins.

The beauty and delicacy of coral reefs is displayed in Fragile Earth by sculptor and ocean advocate, Courtney Mattison. Her huge ceramic wall reliefs are incredibly detailed and inspiring. On view by Mattison are Our Changing Seas III (2014) installation, as well as the newer Surface Tension II (2020) and Gyre I (2022).

Source: Brandywine Museum of Art, Courtney Mattison, Coral Triangle II, 2015

James Prosek, contemporary artist and naturalist, presents a hand painted mural depicting the flora and fauna of the Brandywine Valley. Titled Invisible Boundaries, this mural, and an outdoor installation on the front of the building, contemplate the symbolism of the U.S. flag in relation to nature. Prosek does this by incorporating 50 images of state animals and the bald eagle.

Started in 1971, the Brandywine River Museum was an addition to the Brandywine Conservancy which was founded by a group of locals in 1967 wishing to save the endangered Chadds Ford area from industrial development. The museum is dedicated to American art with primary emphasis on the art of the Brandywine region. The museum hosts a large collection of art from the Wyeth family, a family of artists who lived in the Chadds Ford area including N.C. Wyeth and his four children.

Fragile Earth will be on display until January 8, 2023. Read more about the exhibit here. Tickets can be found on their website. Tickets for students with ID are $6.