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Wildlife art: portraits of an untamed country

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Artist Harty, best known as a mural painter in his native Canada, was handed an artistic assignment that is exceedingly uncommon in the modern world. By being a modern "expedition painter," he now shares company with some of the greatest artistic visionaries who ever ventured West – people such as George Catlin, Karl Bodmer, and Albert Bierstadt, who have works in the world's finest museums.

A perfect illustration of the vital role painters have played in safeguarding the Wild West was Thomas Moran. In 1871, he accompanied scientists who were surveying a strange wonderland. A year later, his re-creations on canvas of canyons, cascading waterfalls, and ocher rock helped persuade Congress to set aside Yellowstone as the world's first national park.

Harty's contemporary renderings of the same expansive vistas provide viewers of "Yellowstone to Yukon" a visual link in understanding the evolution of North America's western ecology.

"Dwayne was selected for this modern mission because we knew his work would serve as a perfect complement to the historic paintings that are in the exhibition," says Locke.

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