Canon Art Gallery features National Geographic exhibit

Canon Art Gallery features National Geographic exhibit
A silverback gorilla ponders a leaf while sitting in a swamp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for hours. Photograph by Ian Nichols

CARLSBAD — Curator Karen McGuire hopes the new exhibit at the Canon Art Gallery in the Dove Library will inspire visitors to find beauty in the mundane.

The opening reception for “Simply Beautiful: Photographs From National Geographic” was held Feb. 21 and more than 200 visitors came, McGuire said.

The exhibit has 55 photographs all based on National Geographic’s core mission areas, which include exploration, wildlife, cultures, science and nature.

More than 40 photographers’ work is displayed, ranging from photos taken in the 1930’s to the present.

McGuire said that many of the photographs may look familiar because there is a book featuring them, they’re sometimes used as default screensavers and are circulated online.

She said they’re much more stunning in-person, than on a computer screen.

The exhibit is part of Carlsbad’s larger goal to increase art offerings throughout the city.

In January, the Cultural Arts Department opened a sculpture garden, “A Balanced Fulcrum,” in the courtyard at the Georgina Cole Library.

“Simply Beautiful” is on a national tour and has already been to Saudi Arabia, Canada, Florida and Texas. It won’t be offered anywhere else in California.

McGuire said she was contacted by National Geographic staff a few years ago and decided to get the exhibit again because a past National Geographic exhibit, “In Focus,” was so popular.

She said this exhibit’s highlights are the amount of color and the beauty in each image.

“What I’d like people to take away from it is to find that there is always beauty to be found in everything and everywhere you look,” said McGuire.

When curating exhibits, she includes art that can’t be seen for miles.

“When we host an exhibition, we try to bring something to Carlsbad that you can’t go elsewhere locally to see. That’s one of our missions, is to bring something fresh and exciting to our community that you can’t drive 20 miles to see somewhere else,” McGuire said.

Other considerations include whether an exhibit is new, or if they’ve done it before, if it can fit into the space and if it’s within the budget allocated by the city.

“Simply Beautiful” runs until May 17 and entry is free.

On March 21, a family open studio event is scheduled.

The free event will allow families to enjoy a hands-on art project connecting to the beauty found in nature.

Visitors can tour the exhibit and watch the film “Flight of the Butterflies” in the Schulman Auditorium at the 11:45 a.m. or 1:15 p.m. showing.

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