by PAUL BICKLEY
“I’m interested in many aspects of how humans interact with nature,” says artist Betsy Stirratt. “I love the beauty of natural forms and the way weather is unpredictable and elemental.” Stirratt’s works include oil and watercolor paintings of evanescent moments of light in the night sky, and platinum photographic prints of landscapes depicting (sometimes ancient) human interactions with nature.
Her series Half-Light—oils on birch plywood panels—depicts ambiguous lights in the night sky. “On panels, the paint can be very smooth,” Stirratt says. “The painted surface is more exacting, allowing me to represent light in the way I thought best.”
Weather, a series of gouache paintings on Japanese textured paper, captures the changing weather and light on Ireland’s west coast. “Thin and translucent papers create a surface that suggests an elemental quality of weather,” she says.
“Nature continues to be a mystery to us,” Stirratt says. “I find that a comfort.”
The founding director of the Grunwald Gallery of Art at Indiana University and the editor of five books, Stirratt’s work is also curatorial. The focus is on preserved and displayed plants and human and animal specimens photographed in herbaria, museums, and natural history and medical archives in the United States and abroad.
“Curating and creating are very related,” she says. “I see my work as curated objects that come together to make a statement. Part of my work is also related to collecting—literally pulling together items that tell a complete story.”
For more information, visit betsystirratt.net.