An exhibition featuring the rarely seen work of award-winning natural artist David M. Carroll will be on display at Colby-Sawyer College’s Davidow Center for Art + Design beginning Feb. 27.
The exhibition, titled “Seldom Seen: Drawings and Paintings by David M. Carroll,” will include pieces in varied media that span far beyond the nature and watercolor drawings most associated with the MacArthur Foundation Fellow and author of five critically acclaimed books. Instead, “Seldom Seen” will feature Carroll’s ventures in cubist-influence art, surrealism and his most recent undertaking of abstract, non-objective art inspired by the Russian Avant-Garde movement.
“People will be very surprised when they see this work,” said Carroll, who will speak during an opening reception for the exhibit Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. in the William H. and Sonja Carlson Davidow ’56 Fine Art Gallery. “That’s going to be part of the fun of this show I think. There are people in this area — and beyond — who are very familiar with my books, and quite often, if they visit my gallery, they’re just so surprised with my other work. So I saw this as an opportunity to show what has been seldom seen or seldom shown.”
Carroll has written and illustrated three natural histories, The Year of the Turtle, Trout Reflections and Swamp-Walker’s Journal — for which he was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing — and two memoirs, Self-Portrait with Turtles and Following the Water, A Hydromancer’s Notebook. His most recent book, 2009’s Following the Water, earned a finalist medal for nonfiction writing in the National Book Foundation’s 2009 awards.
Davidow Fine Art Gallery Director Jon Keenan said that hosting an exhibition of Carroll’s work fits seamlessly with the gallery’s mission to provide quality educational experiences that deepen an understanding of art, strengthen critical thinking and broaden life experiences.
“I am quite confident this exhibition will be well received by both students and the greater Colby-Sawyer community,” said Keenan, a professor in the college’s School of Arts & Sciences. “It's not every day we can host an exhibition featuring a MacArthur Fellow, artist and celebrated writer of natural history.”
“Seldom Seen” will feature work spanning from the early 1970s to late 2018, created in the limited time Carroll wasn’t conducting research for his current, and perhaps future, books. Otherwise, the graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University said he “just about lives in the swamps” from late March until mid-October when turtles — his biggest inspiration — aren’t hibernating.
While Carroll’s nature and watercolor drawings were the feature of an exhibition hosted by the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, N.H., in the summer of 2018, he said his work is seldom displayed beyond his books, and added that the pieces to be displayed at Colby-Sawyer have rarely left his Warner, N.H., studio.
“This kind of work is very important to me,” Carroll said. “This is a path I’ve been on for quite a long time. I want to give visitors of this exhibition something to think about in ways that my natural history art doesn’t encompass.”
“Seldom Seen” will be on display from Feb. 27 through May 9 in the William H. and Sonja Carlson Davidow ’56 Fine Art Gallery located within the Davidow Center for Art + Design. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and weekends — upon request — at no cost to visitors.