The exhibition "On Nature's Terms: Paintings by Thomas Paquette--Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act" remains on display through November 22 at the Quick Center for the Arts at Saint Bonaventure University. The short drive to the Southern Tier is dwarfed by the distances the artist traveled to complete the exhibition.
"Most of these places I'd gone to for the first time to do this show. I traveled around the country. I put on about 24,000 miles to get these images basically," Thomas Paquette explained while providing a recent tour of the exhibition.
Those images have been transformed into the 65-painting exhibition that honors the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, the 1964 federal legislation which has now set aside over one hundred million acres that will remain wild and undeveloped.
The paintings offer the artist's view of the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, Desolation Wilderness in California and the Vermillion Cliffs in Arizona, to name a few.
Paquette traveled to these areas, taking photos, but making sure that he didn't record too many images. He feels it is easy to "get lost" in a sea of digital images.
"A painting is the experience filtered through a human mind and eye and spirit," Paquette said.
"It becomes a creation that is similar to where I was, I feel evocative of that place, but not exactly identical to."
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The exhibition features some of Paquette's gouaches and large oil paintings, some of which are on loan from private owners. The Quick Center is the second stop for the exhibition. It will be moving soon to Evansville, Indiana.