City of Mesa, AZ

Vanishing Circles: Portraits of Disappearing Wildlife of the Sonoran Desert Region


“A stunning assemblage of paintings, a visual feast….”
                                    John Schaefer, Ph.D.  President Emeritus, University of Arizona
The 59 works of art in the Vanishing Circles exhibition portray vulnerable, endangered, or extirpated species indigenous to the Sonoran Desert Region (which includes the Gulf of California) and landscapes that offer vital habitat for these and myriad other species.  Although not all-inclusive, the artworks illustrate a range of species and classes in the animal and plant kingdoms that are literally losing ground—or water as the case may be.



The landscapes and the amphibian, reptile, fish, bird, mammal, plant and invertebrate portraits in this exhibition artfully present a plea for all the species and habitats at risk in the Sonoran Desert Region.  Impacts of our growing human population—including habitat loss and degradation, the introduction of nonnative species, and climate change—continue to increase environmental pressures, bringing these creatures and habitats ever closer to extinction.

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 John N. Agnew, Waiting for Rain, acrylic, 20 x 30
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William Hook, Line in the Sand—Algodones Dunes, acrylic, 24 x 24
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Ken Stockton, Aravaipa Canyon, oil, 18 x 24
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William Hook, Tropic of Cancer, acrylic, 24 x 24

Fish, Amphibians & Reptiles

It is easy to imagine that the loss of little-known or noncharismatic species might not be critical, but each species, no matter how lowly, plays a unique and in no way insignificant role in its local circle of life.  As more threads are broken, our ecosystems are compromised and nature’s ability to recover is diminished, jeopardizing not only our natural habitats but also the health and well-being of our children, and their children.

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Rachel Ivanyi, Fish of the Colorado River, watercolor, 17.5 x 37.5
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Michael James Riddet, Sonoran Tiger Salamander, acrylic, 16.5 x 12.5
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Carel P. Brest van Kempen, Desert Tortoise, acrylic, 21 x 30


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Edward Aldrich, Bald Eagle, oil, 16 x 20
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Richard Sloan, Western Burrowing Owls, acrylic, 15 x 25
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Larry Fanning, Northern Aplomado Falcon, oil on linen, 28.5 x 22.5


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Larry Fanning, Mexican Gray Wolves, oil, 20 x 30
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John Seerey-Lester, Sonora Majesty, oil on canvas, 24 x 36
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Nicholas Wilson, Black-footed Ferret, gouache, 12 x 24
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Nicholas Wilson, Mt. Graham Red Squirrel, gouache, 24 x 12
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Priscilla Baldwin, Black-tailed Prairie Dog, graphite, 14 x 17



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Constance Sayas, Arizona Claret Cup Cactus, watercolor, 12 x 24
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Joan McGann, Pima Pineapple Cactus, colored pencil, 27 x 18
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Rhonda Nass, Desert Night-blooming Cereus, acrylic, 10 x 8


The published catalogue, available for purchase in the museum store, presents all of the images in the exhibition plus others, essays on each of the animals and plants, biographies of all the artists, and reference material.
Images in the exhibition are from the Vanishing Circles Collection of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.  Vanishing Circles: Portraits of Disappearing Wildlife of the Sonoran Desert Region is a traveling exhibition of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson.


Arizona - Sonora Desert Museum




53 N. Macdonald
Mesa, AZ 85201

(One block north of Main Street in downtown Mesa. Take US 60 or 202 to Country Club Drive, go to Main Street, and proceed one-half mile east to Macdonald) - View Map



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