Audubon/RYAN! at Tacoma Art Museum

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Tacoma Art Museum is presenting an exhibition exploring the themes of animals, environmentalism, and conservation, as depicted through the works of renowned naturalist and artist John James Audubon (1785-1851) and Tacoma-based contemporary mixed media artist RYAN! Feddersen, an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

The Naturalist & The Trickster: Audubon/RYAN! includes 36 original hand painted lithographs from Audubon’s portfolio of North American viviparous quadrupeds. Like Audubon’s earlier works, these images are beautifully detailed and accurate both anatomically and biologically. In contrast, Feddersen uses a 75-foot long monochrome mural to explore Coyote, a popular trickster character in Native stories, as he navigates the American West, seeing the harrowing effects of industrialism and resource extraction on the environment. The public is being invited to color the mural using crayons cast in the shape of coyote bones during several special events.

Although centuries apart, Audubon and Feddersen draw inspiration from animals and the natural world to create compelling works that urge us to better understand the human impact on the environment. “Juxtaposing these two artists presents a very immersive and thought-provoking experience regarding perceptions of the natural world and relationships between humans and the environment,” said Faith Brower, TAM’s Haub Curator of Western American Art.

“During Audubon’s life his, prints were one of the ways that scientific information from the American West could be shared and studied. His respect and concern for the natural world clearly marks him as one of the forefathers of the modern conservation and environmental movements,” noted Brower. “Feddersen’s engaging storytelling presents a contemporary perspective on the interactions of humans, animals, and the natural world in humorous and compelling ways.”

The Naturalist & The Trickster: Audubon/RYAN! runs through May 10. Contribute your artistry to the mural during the following events:

  • Neighborhood Nights: every Thursday from 5-8 p.m. through May 7
  • Second Saturdays: from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. through May 9
  • Earth Day Celebration: Sunday, April 19, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.


For more information:

Tacoma Art Museum

1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma

(253) 272-4258