Arte de Descartes 21st annual juried recycled arts show opens at the Stables Gallery this Saturday (Aug. 28) from 4-8 p.m.

The show represents work made from a wide variety of materials: discarded metal, scraps of wood, cloth, glass, plastic, paper and more. Many of the artists have decades of experience and have developed signature styles.

"We are also honored to have some pieces from invited artist Richard Swenson," Descartes founder Melissa Larson says.

Born and raised on a ranch on the North Dakota prairie, animals have played a central role in Richard Swenson's life. As an adult, Swenson served as a Navy Seal before going on to earn advanced degrees in physics and mathematics, which led to a rich career as a physicist specializing in underwater acoustics.

Although he was immersed in the world of science and technology, Swensen never lost his sense of connection to the natural world. In the late 1970s, he bought a farm, allowing him to again have large animals. The farm also provided an ideal setting for him to indulge in his hobby of restoring John Deere tractors.

Richard Swenson never considered himself an artist. He was inspired, however, by the relationships he saw between mechanical parts and natural forms. In 2000, he started assembling scraps of farm machinery and spare tractor parts into whimsical welded sculptures. Although he started by creating small pieces, his newly discovered art form quickly took on a life of its own. Soon he was sculpting herds of life-sized horses, towering giraffes and sinuous Oriental dragons.

The fundamental theme of Richard Swenson's art is, "The primacy of Nature over the Industrial Society." It is Swenson's hope that his sculpture, created from the spare parts cast aside by our throw-away culture, serves to remind us all of our vital connection to the natural world.

"The show runs through Sept. 6th, and is open daily from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. We are honored to be able to present a truly diverse and exceptional show." Larson says.

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