The Cahoon Museum of American Art announces the opening of a new exhibition, Julie Child and the Art of Biological Illustration. The exhibition celebrates the life of the Woods Hole artist, illustrator, and teacher and features artwork from throughout her career. Drawings by 19 of her adult students will also be on view. The exhibition continues through December 23.
Child began her career in 1960, after graduating from the Massachusetts General Hospital Medical Illustration School – one of only three schools in the country offering coursework in medical illustration at the time. Her professional opportunities included biological illustration projects for scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory, designs for university teaching charts, textbook illustrations, and an extended series of botanical drawings for Rodale Press. Her career also included many years of creating graphic designs for t-shirts, tiles, plates, and other products for the Marine Biological Laboratory store. Examples from these projects will be on view.
During her career, Child witnessed the evolution of professional drawing techniques from pen and ink, watercolor, half tone, carbon dust, LeRoy lettering sets, and rapidograph pens, to the disposable micron pens more commonly used for illustration today. These tools will be available for visitors to examine, along with sample papers and an explanation of their use in specific projects.
Illustrators, who work for hire, often do not hold the copyrights to their work and it is typical for few original drawings to remain in the hands of the artist. However, Child also created drawings of the natural world for herself which exhibit her virtuosity as a draughtswoman and her mastery of her craft. Several of these drawings will be on view along with samples from her extensive and fascinating entomological collection which served as their inspiration.
As an educator, Child taught biological illustration at Sarah Lawrence College and later created the biological illustration class and curriculum for the Woods Hole Childrens School of Science, where she taught for two decades inspiring hundreds of children to look closely at nature and draw. She has instructed adults for over forty years. Adult students whose work will be on view include Helen Barnes, Ashley Bolbrock, Valerie Butcher, Rhona Carlton-Foss, Sally Casper, Alice Child, Nancy Copley, Barbara Douglass, Marianne Fricke, Jennifer Gaines, Robert Gould, Susan Houghton, Winnie Mackie, Terry McKee, Ann Menashi, Susan Morse, Ann Newbury, Rachel Switzer, and Mary Swope.
The exhibition includes an education room where visitors may set up a natural still life and practice drawing.
The Museum is offering several opportunities to meet Child and learn more about her life and professional career including three artist talks on September 23, October 14, and November 4 which require advance registration. Space is limited. The artist will also greet visitors from 1-3pm at the Museum’s fall open house on October 8th. www.cahoonmuseum.org for more information or to register.