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Forest Hembree

Forest Hembree is an emerging voice in Alaskan wildlife art focusing especially on the rich natural preserve of the Alaskan Southeast, also known as the "panhandle." His work is distinctive for its use of light as a means of revealing the web of connections between the animals and their natural environment and for the exceptionally fine brushwork and shading through which he achieves an almost photographic accuracy of detail. But technical mastery is not an end in itself. Forest explains, "I want my paintings to carry the viewer beyond mere 'realism' into an experience of beauty that people don't normally see. In this way, every painting is an adventure that lifts the viewer beyond the everyday. Forest grew up in Hoonah, Alaska, a small town on Chichagoff Island, where he was influenced by the respect for nature exemplified by the Tlingit people. As a teenager, he fished commercially and absorbed whatever training was available to him through local artists and craftspeople. Later, he studied at the University of Alaska. Over the past ten years, Forest has enjoyed a steady increase in recognition.  His painting "Hazard Pay" was selected as the official print for the Haines Eagle Festival in 2002. Shown and sold in galleries throughout Alaska, Washington, and Oregon, his work is also now beginning to appear in collections of public art. Forest lives and works in Juneau with his wife, Barbara.