Isabella Kirkland is an artist and a Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences, and lives and works in San Francisco.
She has spent the last 20 years documenting biota in jeopardy of extinction, at life size, using the most permanent painting means possible. An artist working in the classical naturalistic tradition of John James Audubon and other wildlife painters, Isabella Kirkland subtly bends the form to address the ecological challenges facing the world in the age of global warming. Her paintings, which often fuse the style of Dutch Master still lifes with outdoors tableaux for a dreamlike effect, offer tender interactions of plants and animals—shadowed by the understanding that this garden of earthly delights is in flux, and impermanent.
Kirkland has worked on three interwoven series of paintings, Gone, Resurrected, and New, that respectively depict species that have been extinct since 1800, rescued from the brink of annihilation, or freshly discovered.
Her work has been shown at the National Academy of Sciences, the Toledo Art Museum, the Field Museum, the Tucson Museum of Art, and many other institutions.
In 2016, Kirkland started working on a commission for Art in Embassies, detailing and documenting a selection of species of flora and fauna in Suriname. Her on site sketches and research resulted in a large format painting for the new U.S Embassy in Paramaribo