It’s a mesmerizing photo-four birchbark canoes clumped together on a rocky shore, amidst a soft early morning fog. It’s easy to imagine that these boats could have been the vessels of Native Americans, perhaps anchored while their occupants debarked to pick berries or hunt in the woods nearby.
This unique photo, taken by local Northwoods artist Ferdy Goode, will be one of many exhibits that will be featured this summer at ArtStart on Stevens St. in downtown Rhinelander. In fact, early last week, Jane Weinke, curator of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, along with intern Olivia Heitz, delivered 17 paintings and sketches by prominent artists from throughout the United States to include in the exhibit, which is called The Art of Hunting and Fishing: Pursuing the Wild.
“It really is special to see an exhibit of this caliber with a subject matter so appropriate to Rhinelander,” said Mitch Mode, member of the Art Start Board of Directors.
Director of ArtStart Ken Juon agreed. “We felt this would be a good exhibit for this summer season,” he said. “It’s one lots of people up here can connect with and I think visitors will also find it very intriguing. And even those that don’t hunt or fish will find the artwork very unique.”
The art featured at this show will come from all over the country, in addition to pieces from local artists. In fact, there will be authentic birchbark and wooden canoes, made by Ferdy Goode, who resides in Minocqua. He has been making these vessels for many years and their craftsmanship is stunning. Another local artist, Tim Johnson, will have some of his works included in this exhibit as well. He has won awards for his depictions of the wildlife of the Northwoods, which
includes an award-winning trout stamp design.
There will also be nationally known artists included in the exhibit. Works of Chet Reneson, who was named artist of the year by Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited and the Atlantic Salmon Federation all in one year, will be included. His paintings have been on the covers of magazines such as Sports Afield, Gray’s Sporting Journal and Sporting Classics.
Jay Ding Darling will also be featured. This man was an avid conservationist and in fact created the first-ever duck stamp. There will be works by Frank W. Benson, known for his realistic portraits and etchings of landscapes featuring wildlife. Sherman Foote Denton will also be featured in the exhibit. He was known for the nature drawings he was commissioned to illustrate for the U.S. Fish Commission and the Forest, Fish and Game Commission of New York State.
Another favorite is Ogden Pleissner. This artist is known for his depictions of fishing, the outdoors and western landscapes. He was commissioned by the government to be a war artist and much of his work is exhibited in the Pentagon and the Shelburne Museum in Vermont. Carl Rungius was a leading American wildlife artist and spent his career painting the western United States and Canada. He was the first career wildlife artist ever in North America.
There will be Native American artifacts that have been featured in the Smithsonian Museum, along with tools and implements, such as baskets that hunters and fishermen used to process or keep their game. Functional and decorative decoys and lures will be included, as well as antler art and many other exhibits that will intrigue not only hunters and anglers, but those interested in art as well.
Mel’s Trading Post is co-sponsoring the exhibit which will open June 19 and run until Aug. 31. There will be an opening party on Saturday, June 22, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Local sportsmen and women will read from a varied selection of writings and refreshments will be served. Admission is free.
ArtStart will also host a summer party Friday, July 5, from 7 to 10 p.m. Participants are encouraged to wear hunting “gear” such as camouflage, blaze orange, flannel and Hodag T-shirts. Admission is by donation.
ArtStart is located at 68 S. Stevens St., Rhinelander. For more information, call (715) 362-4328 or log on to artstartrhinelander.org.