Fall showing of ‘Flora & Fauna’ takes place Sept. 3-Nov. 9

MANCHESTER – The Derryfield School Lyceum Gallery proudly presents "Flora & Fauna," featuring artwork inspired by nature. Continuing our celebration of the fifty years of dynamic arts education, Flora & Fauna bridges the natural world and fine art. This fall show offers unique interpretations of nature through painting and printmaking. Presenting work by Steffen Poltak and Colleen Pearce.

Steffen Poltak (Concord, N.H.) was fascinated with nature from a young age.He began drawing animals and taking art lessons in elementary school, and has pursued his passion for both biology and art throughout his life. While majoring in biochemistry in college, Steffen expanded his artistic skill set by studying photography, digital imaging and scientific art. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of New Hampshire, where he studied microbial ecology and evolution of infectious bacteria, and then was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School in the department of microbiology and molecular genetics. Afterwards, Steffen taught at the college level and most recently at Phillips Exeter Academy and St. Paul’s School, where he was known for his detailed anatomical drawings on the dry-erase boards. Steffen’s study of biology has consistently informed his art. In his most recent pieces, he has played with evolution and expressionism, using traditional painting and scientific illustration techniques to imagine alternative phenotypic expressions, or differences in patterns and color, for the animals he has studied.

Colleen Pearce (Harvard, Mass.) discovered her love of art at an easel in nursery school. Her first painting was of a giraffe whose spotted neck bent to fit on the paper. She spent much of her childhood divided between making mud pies and drawing. Growing up on a seventy-five acre farm in Michigan instilled a sense of deep belonging in nature. With her family, she planted 10,000 red and white pine, pin oak and black walnut trees. Her father’s belief in being good stewards of the land, inspired a lifelong appreciation of the beauty and majesty found in nature. Working closely with the written word, Colleen said, "Poetry is a way for me to set my intentions as I begin a new piece in the studio. It is also a way of sidestepping the inertia of a blank page. As nature opens me, so does poetry. It is then that heart and hand become channel to a deeper expression."

She received a diploma from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and a BFA from Tufts University. While living in Australia, she earned a diploma in art history from the Gallery of New South Wales. Colleen has played an integral role as an educator, teaching at her alma matters, and as a guest lecturer at deCordova and Tufts on the topic of the development of art in children. While teaching art in the Lincoln Public Schools, Colleen recently completed her MFA at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Her artwork has been exhibited throughout the New England area.

Both Colleen Pearce and Steffen Poltak will visit classes at The Derryfield School campus this fall, and will share, first hand, their artistic approach, techniques, and experiences with the students and members of the community.

Flora and Fauna runs through Nov. 9. The Gallery is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. There will be a reception for the artists on Friday, Nov. 6, from 5:30-7 p.m.

Learn more at www.derryfield.org/