Elizabeth Preston Schoyer
In my paintings and gouaches I peregrinate across Suriname, Egypt, Amazonia, and Antarctica with Alexander von Humboldt, Maria Sibylla Merian, Napoleon Bonaparte, Henry Bates, and Ernest Shackleton, respectively, as my guides. Through reading their journals, dating from the 18th through 20th centuries, I traveled with these European naturalists and explorers on their journeys to the unknown.

My works are imaginary renderings of the experiences and specimens recounted in their journals. Their accounts of the devices and architectural structures used for collecting and storing different plant and animal species illustrate their attempts to control and tame the unfamiliar. These structures act as a way to make order out of the chaos and serve as metaphors for our fragility.

These explorers' resolve to continue questioning the mysteries of the world in spite of the perils and comedy of errors that characterize their journeys, fascinates me. Like them, I am drawn to the wonder and beauty of discovery regardless of the apparent futility of the expeditions and great challenges that they presented. I seek to explore this contradiction in my work. United in our common curiosity about the natural world, we have become collaborators.