"Animal Architects" at the Art Gallery, 1/11-2/2
"Animal Architects" at the Art Gallery, 1/11-2/2

The Anne Reid '72 Art Gallery at Princeton Day School is pleased to present an exhibit titled "Animal Architects: Influences on Human Creativity," featuring the work of six artists: Harry Bower, Linda Gebhard, Eva Mantell, Donna Payton, Kathleen Preziosi, and Richard Sanders. This exhibit will be on view from January 11 through February 2, 2017. There will be an artists panel on Thursday, January 26 from 1:00 – 1:30 p.m. and an artists reception on Friday, January 27, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

Artist Donna Payton, who guest curated the exhibit, was inspired by the "art" of animals. She noted in her curatorial statement: "Who hasn't wondered at the spiral pattern of a spider's web, the twig and mud construction of a robin's nest or the engineering feat of a beaver's dam? Nature abounds with structures built by animals. Primates to arthropods build homes, traps, nurseries, food storages, and courtship displays."

After discovering the book Animal Architects, Building and the Evolution of Intelligence by James L. Gould and Carol Grant Gould, she was inspired to curate an exhibit on the topic. Payton wrote, "As a sculptor and installation artist, I could relate to the animals' collecting of materials, selecting a site and planning the building process. Animals use paper, silk, adobe, resin, wax, clay, sticks, grass, fibers, stones, lichen, found objects from trash and garbage dumps as well as hair, feathers and self-secreted materials. Artists also work with these materials."

Payton invited artists Harry Bower, Linda Gebhard, Eva Mantell, Kathleen Preziosi and Richard Sanders to join her in an exhibition using the animal architects' ingenuity for building and constructing as a reference.

"Animal Architects" aims to illuminate the amazing engineering feats throughout the animal world, and lead to reflection on the behavioral capabilities of animals and what animal building tells us about the nature of human creativity. Ms. Payton concludes, "Although we differ motivationally in our creative efforts, ours being aesthetic and expressive and theirs being survival and procreation, the end results are both structures of ingenuity and beauty."

"Animal Architects" is open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday when the school is in session, and by appointment on weekends.

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