Michael Paul Miller in Neo-Naturalist at MoNA

Guest Curator, Robert Yoder
Growing up in a small town in Virginia, I had a luxury I am only now starting to realize. Our family had a fairly large backyard and beyond that, there were the woods. As kids, we would spend hours wandering and playing there. The thrill of discovery was not something I considered at the time, we would just dig or turnover things or stick our hands in the creek and see what happened. As I look back, I'm surprised at how regular our games seemed to us.  Making a fort in a briar patch or sliding along mossy river rocks was simply something we did. I realize I've lost that sense of connection to a place. Streets and bus rides and downtowns have their own ability to engage, but not in the way that walking through acres of fallen leaves provided.
Many of the artists in Neo Naturalist never lost that sense of joy or connection to a place as they grew out of childhood and into a working career. They have found ways to reconnect to a part of nature that for them provides endless interest and inspiration. As nature changes to adapt to present stresses, these artist are also adapting to view their creations in a new way. Not only creating artworks to show respect for their subject, they feel a need to address issues of growth, change and loss. Working with this group of artists has reminded me that change is constant, and adaptions and reactions to change is what we, as well as nature, have been doing for millennia.
Artists Include: Gretchen Daiber, Stephen Cunliffe, David Eisenhour, Michael Felber, Karen Hackenberg, Todd Horton, Tom Jay, Sara Mall Johani, Philip McCracken, Michael Paul Miller, Allen Moe, Ann Morris, Peregrine O’Gormley, Mary Randlett, Joseph Rossano, and Karen Rudd.
Concept and Artist Selection by artist David Eisenhour