Global art and nature are themes in local galleries this fall

With cool fall weather comes a heated up visual arts scene. The natural world is a consistent theme among exhibitions this fall. And as Atlanta becomes more of a global city, its museums and galleries have expanded their horizons with shows dedicated to art from geographically and culturally diverse locales from Japan to the Caribbean. But there’s also a robust interest in regional artists this fall, reflecting a cultural fascination with all things locavore. From the classical or cutting edge, the purely beautiful or the baldly provocative, 2014’s fall arts deliver.

"Terra Flora: Pam Rogers." Artist Pam Rogers' abstracted views of nature are inspired by her training in the art of botanical illustration at London's Kew Gardens. Rogers uses a variety of unusual pigments sourced from mulberry trees, soil, plants and minerals, as well as bark paper to reaffirm her interest in the natural world. Through Sept. 19. Swan Coach House Gallery. www.swancoachhouse.com

"Hiroshima International: Japanese Calligraphy and Paintings." Hiroshima produces 80 percent of Japanese brush products and as a result has a thriving artistic community. This exhibition will feature more than 90 works on paper that demonstrate that local affinity for brush-based calligraphy and painting. Through Sept. 27. The Hudgens Center for the Arts. www.thehudgens.org

"Wilbur G. Kurtz: History in 'Gone With the Wind.'" With the move of Atlanta's beloved Cyclorama painting to the Atlanta History Center, this Buckhead institution is becoming the keeper of both Atlanta history, and its various layers of self-invention and myth-making. The book and film that continue to both obsess and divide Atlantans, "Gone With the Wind," has invoked Civil War history while also avoiding its uglier dimensions. Transplanted Yankee Wilbur G. Kurtz was the film's official historian and technical advisor (as well as adviser on the problematic Disney production "Song of the South"), and his role in crafting that legend will be examined in this exhibit sure to be of interest to both cineastes and historians. Through April 4, 2015. Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. www.atlantahistorycenter.com

"Elsewhere." SCAD-Atlanta professor Kent Knowles specializes in quirky-weird figurative works of young women battling difficulty of many stripes that can evoke the work of heralded painter John Currin, kitsch icon Margaret Keane and children's picture book heroines (Knowles also writes and illustrates children's books). Sept. 19-Oct. 24. Kai Lin Art. www.kailinart.com

"Leaves of Grass: Works by Steven Anderson and Susan Hable Smith." Nature, from backyard gardens to vast forests is the focus of this two-person show. "Leaves of Grass" features Steve Anderson, who creates drawings and installations inspired by the natural world, and Athens textile designer Susan Hable Smith, who creates watercolors inspired by her home garden. Sept. 20-Nov. 8. Poem 88. www.poem88.net

"What's Cooking, Uncle Sam? The Government's Effect on the American Diet." Americans are obsessed with food: healthy foods, comfort foods, genetically modified foods, diets and, of course, the foodie culture of ever more exotic ingredients and complex cooking techniques. Feeding into that trend, the CDC Museum will examine the American government's involvement in diet and nutrition through the ages. Sept. 24-Jan. 2. David J. Spencer CDC Museum. www.cdc.gov/museum

"Att/ention." Some of the most inspired exhibitions have popped up in unexpected places thanks to the team of Courtney Hammond and Beth Malone, whose venture Dashboard Co-op stages exhibitions in vacant spaces. This fall Dashboard features artists Tak Masuda and Dave Greber in a show of digital art on the topic of distraction. Those who can stop tweeting and making Vine videos long enough to check it out are undoubtedly in for a treat. Sept. 27-Oct. 25, Dashboard Co-op, 31 North Ave. www.dashboardcoop.org

"E.K. Huckaby: Anhydjinnic Molassicism." One of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia's Working Artist Project 2013/2014 award-winners, E.K. Huckaby is a longtime fixture on Atlanta's art scene. His moody, at times macabre paintings are coated in the kind of heavy varnish that instantly endows his images with a feeling of history and permanence and an aura all their own. Sept. 27-Nov. 29. MOCA-GA. www.mocaga.org

"The Forty Part Motet." Esteemed Canadian-born, Berlin-based artist Janet Cardiff has created a sound piece considered the artist's masterwork. The work features recordings of 59 individuals singing Tudor composer Thomas Tallis' "Spem in Alium Nunquam Habui." Audiences walk through the installation of 40 high-fidelity speakers to experience the different voices that make up the whole. Oct. 11-Jan. 18. High Museum of Art. www.high.org

"Creole World: Richard Sexton." Exploring the connections between the Creole cultures of Latin America, the Caribbean and New Orleans, NOLA-based photographer Richard Sexton examines the gracefully decaying architecture and romantic atmosphere of these kindred places. Oct. 16-Nov. 22. Whitespace Gallery. www.whitespace814.com

"Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak in His Own Words and Pictures." The iconoclastic author of the strange and beloved childhood classics, "Where the Wild Things Are" and "In the Night Kitchen," Maurice Sendak was not only an author and illustrator but a creative talent whose life was informed by losing relatives in the Holocaust. Spotlighting letters and photographs from the author's life, the exhibition will cater to young audiences with a dress-up station and interactive elements. Nov. 16-May 25. William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum. www.thebreman.org

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