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The latest Beréskin Gallery exhibit lets us see nature through the eyes of two artists with a passion for seeing waterways and natural prairie return to their roots.

Prairie Lights runs through April 26 at the Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy, 2967 State St, Bettendorf, and features the work of Pam Ohnemus and Cynthia Starkweather-Nelson.

Owner Pat Beréskin said for many reasons, this type of project made sense.

“I couldn't wait to hang this show in the gallery. The weather has been a typical Midwestern winter that included a nor'easter,” Beréskin said. “In this exhibition of prairie land flora we are able to see up close the water, land and plant life that supports our local prairie.”

An open house was held for the two artists April 5. Ohnemus of Davenport  concentrates on the natural prairie grass and landscape that once dominated our region until farms began to emerge. She worked 33 years in the Davenport School District, and teaches art for adults at the Figge Art Museum, Davenport.

Her part of the exhibit features paintings of prairie near the Fairmount Cemetery in west Davenport to Nahant Marsh near Davenport.

“The tall grass prairie is an irreplaceable tapestry of plant and animal life,” Ohnemus said. “I paint dynamic compositions of Midwest prairie remnants so that the viewer can appreciate and see the need of their preservation before they are lost forever.”

"Pam's work and dedication to the area's natural prairies, especially Nahant Marsh, is a focus of all of her paintings. She allows the landscape to breath in the pieces through her use of color, texture and light,” Beréskin said.

Cynthia Starkweather-Nelson is exhibiting paintings from waterways in northwest Iowa and Wisconsin. She grew up in Moline and lives in Minnesota and also taught for many years.

"Cynthia uses acrylic glazing, fluid and heavy strokes to create her paintings. The movement of water is among the reeds is captivating,” Beréskin said.

"The relationship between my art and environmental concerns happens in multiple levels and ways,” Starkweather-Nelson said. “I am a member of several environmental groups which make positive contributions to solving issues confronting the nature that is so inspiring to my artwork. In my paintings, I explore the close up relationships of light/reflection and refraction I find in the environment.”

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