San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Exhibits
Inspiration of the Natural World

Inspiration of the Natural World

May 4–August 21, 2011

Witness the stunning artwork of prominent Rancho Santa Fe painter and poet Sunna Bohlen. Also showing will be work by Roger Guillemin, Ph.D., who is a Nobel Prize laureate, past President of the Salk Institute, and pioneer digital artist.


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Sunna Bohlen
Born and educated in Korea, Bohlen moved to the United States in her early 20s. A self-taught artist, Bohlen began painting at a young age and has worked in relative isolation. While Bohlen’s paintings are generally pure abstractions, included in the upcoming Museum show is an ethereal painting that evolves from subtle gradations of blue, white and russet into imagery evocative of a towering forest.

In a similar color palate, yet an altogether different execution, is a painting that while still abstract, lends itself to representational interpretation by the viewer. In a vast leap from Bohlen’s canvases of soothing blues, are her fully abstract paintings dominated by passionate reds and yellows, lightly tinged with green, blue or violet.


Artist's Statement

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From an early age, I’ve had a great need to investigate the human condition, life’s balancing act of survival and transcendence. Language and philosophy were the ways to abstract the meaning of the human experience and understand the feelings or thoughts behind them.

Today, I am compelled to put those feelings to canvas and poem. It is purely an act of survival. Not physical survival, but emotional, and gives way to express the intimate sense of human emotion through painting and poetry as a ritual gesture of my own healing.

I am motivated to translate more than an aesthetic quality of work and insist that my emotions connect to the natural world by combining mental and physical environments through limitless color. Here, through creativity and struggle both worlds combine outside the limits of duality.

Often we negotiate with reality, yet looking beyond physical boundaries and pursuing ones vision through immaterial energies to decode humanity can be a truly rewarding experience.
—Sunna Bohlen

Roger Guillemin, Ph.D.
Accompanying Bohlen in the Inspiration of the Natural World is the highly awarded medical researcher Dr. Roger Guillemin. Born and educated in France, Guillemin enjoyed creating art as a young man. As he immersed himself in the medical field, his art was put on hold. His illustrious medical career includes numerous awards and achievements, including: Nobel Prize for medicine for his work on neurohormones and discoveries that laid the foundation for brain hormone research, 1977; National Medal of Science, 1976; Lasker Award, 1975; interim president of the Salk Institute, 2007.

Guillemin, well-versed in the use of the computer for scientific research, began to now use the computer as his choice artistic tool. This led him to become one of the pioneers in the growing arena of digital art. Using graphics programs, Guillemin creates works that range from impressionistic landscapes to pure abstractions. Viewing his works, one finds vibrant, energy-induced swathes of color and pulsating line. The digital creations are printed on either paper or canvas.


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Exhibition Sponsors

Inspiration of the Natural World is sponsored by the following individuals and organizations:

Dr. Frederik Paulsen/Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Krippl, Abe Ordover at The Ordover Gallery,
Dr. Richard Della Penna and Dr. Merle Naponic, Drs. Gayda and Nabil Hanna, and Mr. and Mrs. Bill Rohn.



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