Top honors at LSU art show go to the birds

Published on May 28, 2014
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Colorful kestrels, sunbathing Bulldogs, and wolves in winter made appearances at the 27th International Exhibition on Animals in Art at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine.

In all, 73 pieces of art depicting animals were on display during the show March 29-April 27 in the veterinary school’s library. A total of 160 artists from 32 states and Canada submitted 383 entries for the show.

Barbara Banthien of Marin County, Calif., won the $1,000 Best of Show award for “King’s Move,” an acrylic painting that depicts an American kestrel perched on a chessboard. She said in the painting’s description: “I see the falcon here as patient, precise, observing. Chess seems to require similar skills and a concentration of mind in the players.”

​Barbara Banthien’s “King’s Move” received the Best of Show award at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine’s 27th International Exhibition on Animals in Art. (Courtesy of LSU)

The judge and juror was Jordana Pomeroy, PhD, executive director of the LSU Museum of Art. She was the chief curator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., from 1996-2012. Dr. Pomeroy selected the works that appeared during the exhibition and most of the award winners.

Dr. Kurt J. Matushek, AVMA editor-in-chief, chose “Yellow Bird,” also by Barbara Banthien, to appear on the cover of the June 1 issue of JAVMA.

“As usual, there were a lot of deserving pieces this year. This one stood out because the artist’s technique, particularly the stippling, was so amazing. Of course, given the long, cold, snowy winter we’ve been through, a bright, cheery piece like this was sure to attract attention,” Dr. Matushek said.

Both “Yellow Bird” and “King’s Move” are part of a series of works the artist created that combine birds with human games or toys.

“I focus on the birds here in Northern California—ones I can see, know and study up close. I feel a connection to my subjects through painting them, and I try to render each one’s essence in my work,” Banthien wrote on her website.

The People’s Choice Award went to Ralph Marino of Baton Rouge, La., for his wood sculpture titled “Choupique in the Wind.”

The veterinary school benefits from a portion of the art sales from the exhibition.