By Patrice Lorenz and Patricia Wadslay
Starting on Saturday May 27, The Hunting Tavern Museum in Andes, New York will present “Finding John Burroughs,” an exhibit inspired by the work and life of the great American naturalist John Burroughs, featuring paintings and sculptures by Delaware County artist, Patrice Lorenz.
Burroughs, born in 1837, grew up and spent summers in Roxbury, New York in Delaware County. He wandered the same landscapes we appreciate today—hiking Slide Mountain, maneuvering the Esopus, listening to the distinctive trills of each bird, the sly movements of each animal and insect he encountered. First influenced by the writings of Emerson, Burrougs’ own writing came alive under the tutelage of Walt Whitman, whom he’d met in Washington D.C. during the Civil War. From then on, the naturalist’s attention to detail became earthy yet poetic, and by the end of the 19th century Burroughs’ fame was worldwide.
Patrice Lorenz is an artist who expresses her thematic interests through a variety of media and materials. Lorenz’s interest in Burroughs has spanned the twenty years she has been living in the “blue urn,” as Burroughs described the Catskill region.
“I had vowed to spend my first year in Delaware County observing the world around me, with no phone, no internet, just an occasional trip to the supermarket to distract me from watching the birds fly over an open field and the light on the hills as they turn from gray to green to blue,” says Lorenz. “I recorded my own observations in drawings and paintings.
“One day, I picked up ‘The Art of Seeing’ by John Burroughs. I didn’t know that he was native to this area or that he was one of the great American naturalists. But as I started reading his essays, I was struck by how they read like short stories, how each insect, blade of grass, cloud in the sky was animated by his narrative. I also felt like these writings were teaching me how to observe my surroundings more clearly.
“More recently, during the pandemic, I turned to Burroughs’ writings to reconnect with my immediate environment and started work on a group of paintings inspired by his work.”
Dependent text and recordings provided by Patricia Wadsley, Ted Hannan and Jim Nevin.
This project is made possible with funds from the Delaware County Arts Grants, a re-grant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered in Delaware County by the Roxbury Arts Group.
“Finding John Burroughs” runs every Saturday, 11-4, from May 27th through July 5 at the Hunting Tavern Museum, 288 Main St., Andes, NY. ~