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The fifty-two paintings gathered here reveal as never before the wild beauty of Little St. Simons, an undeveloped barrier island on the Georgia coast. In showing us the island's marshes and tidal creeks, shrub lands and forests, and dunes and beaches, artist Philip Juras helps us understand the natural and historical forces continually at work on this unique place.
The Wild Treasury of Nature continues Juras's exploration of the presettlement wilderness of the American South as the earliest naturalists would have encountered it. Strikingly composed and executed, Juras's island paintings are based on extensive research and many hours spent at the sites he documents. From the contours of a pristine landscape down to the shape and color of its smallest plant, each scene is a historically and ecologically credible rendering of a place that has remained miraculously unspoiled.
The writings that accompany Juras's paintings describe the natural history and unique cultural past of Little St. Simons in particular and the southern barrier islands in general, place the artwork within the American landscape painting tradition, and underscore the importance of vigilant stewardship for the island and the few remaining American places like it.
Philip Juras, a native of Augusta, Georgia, USA received a BFA and a master of landscape architecture from the University of Georgia. He lives in Athens, Georgia. Dorinda G. Dallmeyer is a faculty member of the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program at the University of Georgia, USA and is also the associate director of the University of Georgia's Dean Rusk Center International, Comparative, and Graduate Legal Studies. She is the editor of five books, including Values at Sea, a volume of essays on ethvironmental ethics (Georgia).
"I look with astonishment at what Philip Juras has accomplished in these paintings [...] My hope, like Philip's, is that anyone who is moved by his paintings will gain a fresh, if not brand new, appreciation for the allure of southeastern coastal landscapes. Even more, I hope that they will be inspired to join efforts to preserve and steward those places for ongoing generations."
– Wendy Paulson, from the foreword
"Juras invites the viewer to inhabit without distractions of human presence, activity, or metaphor, a singular place of ecological significance. His Little St. Simons portrait preserves in paint an environment that will inevitably alter over time but one hopes will maintain, through careful stewardship, its essential ecological integrity."
– Janice Simon, from the book