William Reaves | Sarah Foltz Fine Art announces Wings: The Ways of Water Birds by Debbie Stevens, and Texas Aviary: More Birds in Art by Margie Crisp, Billy Hassell, Jonathan Paul Jackson, E. Dan Klepper, William Montgomery, and Frank X. Tolbert 2, on view February 16-March 10, 2018.

In 2018, we mark the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. In honor of this milestone, Audubon Society, National Geographic, and nature lovers around the world are joining forces to celebrate the "Year of the Bird" and commit to protecting birds today and for the next hundred years.

As our way to celebrate, from February 16 to March 10, William Reaves | Sarah Foltz Fine Art hosts two dynamic exhibitions focusing on our feathered friends-Wings: The Ways of Water Birds by Debbie Stevens and Texas Aviary: More Birds in Art by Margie Crisp, Billy Hassell, Jonathan Paul Jackson, E. Dan Klepper, William Montgomery, and Frank X. Tolbert 2.

These exhibitions offer a visual homage to the splendid legacy of naturalist painting in the Lone Star State through the works of seven of state's foremost contemporary naturalist artists celebrating the allure and natural beauty of Texas birds in art. Their varied works, including paintings, prints, and photographs, present broad, twenty-first century interpretations of Texas wildlife and their environs, as they continue to approach their task with refined expertise and avid dedication to the causes of both art and nature. The exhibition is rich and pleasing in terms of its divergent style and substance, and the artists and their work are certain to appeal to the inherent naturalist instincts that remain deep in the heart of every true Texan.

Center stage is reserved for the quiet majesty of the cranes, egrets, and herons that elegantly populate the incredible water bird paintings of world class avian artist, Debbie Stevens. A "must see" for Texas birders and conservationists. Her paintings of cranes and water-birds have brought her national acclaim in the field of "birds in art". With a unique style that seamlessly integrates photo-realism with abstraction, Stevens has become a perennial award-winner in important American wildlife painting competitions. Her paintings possess a distinctive elegance, presented in a style and scale which respects and accentuates the allure of her preferred subject matter - the majestic water-birds of Texas and the American Midwest. Of note, Stevens is the 2018 Artist of the Year for the Rockport Center for the Arts, and will be having a solo exhibition there this summer.

Participating artists in Texas Aviary include: Margie Crisp and husband William Montgomery (Elgin), Billy Hassell (Fort Worth), Jonathan Paul Jackson (Houston), E. Dan Klepper (Marathon), and Frank X. Tolbert 2 (Houston).

Margie Crisp (b. 1960) is a well-known author and naturalist, as well as a notable wildlife painter and printmaker. In 2014, she wrote and illustrated an award-winning book on the Colorado River (published by the Texas A&M University Press), chronicling in prose and pictures the life and lore of the fabled Texas Colorado. In her paintings of Texas birds and plant life shown in this exhibition, Crisp reveals subjects with extraordinary fidelity, rendering them exquisitely in tempera or watercolor medium. Her lithographic prints are likewise reflective of refined draftsmanship, and are always popular favorites in the gallery.

William Montgomery (b. 1953) is a New Mexico educated, Italian-trained, Texas artist, as well as a trained herpetologist. He also happens to be the spouse of the talented Margie Crisp. Like Crisp, he is an accomplished painter, as well as printmaker. Montgomery has recently collaborated with his Crisp to illustrate a newly published book on the Nueces River, a sequel of sorts to Crisp's highly successful Colorado River story. His presentations for this exhibition portray the distinctive flora and fauna in and around the Nueces. Many of the paintings for sale are to be included as illustrations in the publication.

Likewise, Fort Worth's Billy Hassel (b. 1956) is renowned for his colorful, buoyant wildlife paintings and prints. Hassell has combined naturalist instincts, extraordinary compositional skills and painterly facility to achieve prominence in the field. His exhibitions are always successful, and his work is found in many of the state's most important museums and collections. He continues the heralded tradition of lending his art for important environmental causes, partnering with the Texas Conservancy, The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, as well as other organizations to produce prints and publications in support of conservation issues.

Jonathan Paul Jackson (b. 1985) is a Visual Artist from Houston, Texas. He works in all mediums of Art, including Painting, Sculpture and Illustration. In many of his works, Jackson finds Inspiration from both the Texas landscape and its wildlife, experimenting in vibrant Neo-Expressionism paintings. Since 2011, Jackson has been in a number of gallery and museum exhibitions throughout Texas, including the Texas Southern University Art Museum, Austin Art Alliance, and the Museum of Human Achievement in Austin, TX. E. Dan Klepper (b. 1956) is an artist, writer and photographer based in west Texas. His work has been featured in numerous books and magazines, including this month's Cowboys & Indians Magazine, "In Sight", the online photography magazine for The Washington Post. Klepper's art, exhibited at his Marathon studio Klepper Gallery, can be found in collections across the state.

For the past three years, Houston-based contemporary artist Frank X Tolbert (b. 1945) has explored the birds of Texas in paintings, drawing and printmaking. In these works from his Texas Bird Project series, the birds are transformed through line and color into darkly familiar personalities.

Wings and Texas Aviary make for the perfect visual experience in concert with the arrival of spring. It offers a superb selection of artwork by some of Texas' most respected wildlife artists. The exhibitions run from February 16-March 10, with an opening reception on Saturday, February 17, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.