If you've ever flipped through a field guide of birds or visited the new Trinity River Audubon Center, then you owe a debt of gratitude to the late, great John James Audubon, the namesake of the Audubon organization and the preeminent wildlife artist of his day. Audubon's Birds of America continues to be an influence some 180 years after it was first published, inspiring modern avian artists like David Sibley and causing collectors the world over to clamor for an early edition (one copy of the original print sold in March of 2000 for $8,802,500, the largest sum ever paid for a book). Local artist Kathy Boortz is similarly enthralled with Audubon, using his work as inspiration for her own art, which uses found objects like driftwood and paint to create incredibly lifelike sculptures of the Texas birds she encounters while walking the shores of White Rock Lake. As Boortz herself puts it, "My profound love of nature and the singular beauty of all its separate entities inspire me to create art rooted in observation, whimsy and a deep empathy for the animals that coexist with an encroaching human presence." Boortz's Ode to Audubon hangs through May 3 at the Bath House Cultural Center on White Rock Lake, 521 E. Lawther Drive. Gallery hours are 12 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Call 214-670-8749 or visit bathhousecultural.com.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 12-6 p.m. Starts: Jan. 17. Continues through May 3, 2009