SFA Professor of Art Robert Kinsell's "Family Portrait," an oil on canvas inspired by the pathogen Yellow Cap Fungus, is one of the pieces included in "Edge of Life: Forest Pathology Art," which will open at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - Works by 32 artists and the forest pathogen specimens that inspired them are included in "Edge of Life: Forest Pathology Art," which the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art will open with a 6 p.m. reception Friday, Jan. 21, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

Each of the participating artists (members of the SFA art faculty and ecological artists from across the United States) was assigned a specific forest pathogen, or agent of disease, and given the task to use any medium to create an artwork inspired by that pathogen.

The result is collection of art that ranges from traditional to contemporary, laborious to spontaneous, in both two- and three-dimensional works, explained Michelle Rozic, SFA assistant professor of art and one of the exhibition's curators.

"Our three-part goal is to share science's ability to inspire culture through art, to present a wide range of innovative approaches to making art, and to educate about the field of forest pathology," Rozic continued.

Rozic and assistant curator Dr. David Kulhavy, SFA professor of forestry, organized the collaborative project between the SFA College of Fine Arts and the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture.

The exhibition, which also includes artist statements and short writings from forest pathologists explaining each pathogen and its significance within its ecosystem, is designed as a traveling show that will be supplemented with a 100-page, full-color book scheduled for publication in August.

'Edge of Life' bridges the fields of forestry and art and provides a catalyst for discussion over pathogens and invasive species affecting the health of our forests, as well as how artists communicate concerns about contemporary ecological issues," said Kulhavy. "By making the exhibition available to other museums and galleries, we can share its messages with viewers outside of East Texas."

The opening will include a panel discussion in which the curators will be participating, and many of the artists will be in attendance. "Edge of Life" will be on display in the Ledbetter Gallery until Saturday, March 26. Regular gallery hours are 12:30 to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free.

The exhibition is sponsored in part by a Faculty Research Grant provided through SFA's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, SFA Friends of the Visual Arts and Nacogdoches Junior Forum.

The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information, please call (936) 468-1131.