Artists have long represented the simultaneously beautiful and terrifying elements of the natural world. In the 18th century, philosopher Edmund Burke wrote of the power of the sublime in nature as capable of filling the mind with astonishment accompanied by a degree of dread. To Burke, vast landscapes, scenes of great dimension, and even the presence of dangerous creatures activated feelings of fear and wonder that defined the sublime.

Today, the concept of the sublime remains a strong and fertile force in contemporary art with new and expanded definitions, including critiques of human ecological destruction. The prints and drawings in Fear and Wonder, drawn from the MFAH collection, showcase a range of sublime evocations.

Artists such as Dozier Bell and Robin Tichane depict expansive, melancholic landscapes, which complement the cosmic allusions of Dario Robleto and James Turrell. John Alexander and David Maxim recall the wild and deadly volatility of nature. Kermit Oliver and Nadezda Prvulovic reveal sublime potential in human-made structures.

Together, these works on paper suggest a persistent desire to seek places that elicit an encounter with the sublime, the experience of which can provoke an emotive and overwhelming response. This 45-minute tour explores the exhibition and encourages visitors to discuss the art together.

Drop in! Gallery tours are free with Museum admission. On Thursdays, Museum admission is free, courtesy of Shell Oil Company.

► Plan ahead for your visit with parking information.

MFAH Learning and Interpretation and Education programs receive generous funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services; MD Anderson Cancer Center; Sharon G. Dies; the Sterling-Turner Foundation; Houston Junior Woman's Club; Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo; the Kress Foundation; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; the Susan Vaughan Foundation; CFP Foundation; the Cockrell Family Fund; the Joe Barnhart Foundation; the Carruth Foundation, Inc.; Ann and John Bookout; Mrs. Denise D. Monteleone; William A. and Madeline Smith Charitable Trust; Texas Commission on the Arts; the Claire and Theodore Morse Foundation; Dr. Angela Apollo; the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design; Mr. and Mrs. Dan English III; Mrs. Nancy Glanville Jewell; Marilyn G. Lummis; Mary Lynn and Steve Marks; John L. Nau III; the Summerlee Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wheeler; Christine and Jaime Yordan Foundation; The Junior League of Houston, Inc.; Polly and Murry Bowden; Nancy and Jim Gordon; and the Lubrizol Foundation.

All Learning and Interpretation programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, receive endowment funds provided by Louise Jarrett Moran Bequest; Caroline Wiess Law; the William Randolph Hearst Foundation; Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Fondren Foundation; BMC Software, Inc.; the Wallace Foundation; the Neal Myers and Ken Black Children’s Art Fund; Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Ballard; Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Tate; the Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation; Virginia and Ira Jackson; the Favrot Fund; Neiman Marcus Youth Arts Education; gifts in memory of John Wynne; and gifts in honor of Beth Schneider.