Home Alumni Anderson Gallery exhibit pairs environmental art with storytelling

Anderson Gallery exhibit pairs environmental art with storytelling

News PhotoDrake’s Anderson Gallery will feature an exhibition titled, “To Know the Land,” a journey of dynamic visuals of natural sculptures and two-dimensional works of art accompanied by thought-provoking storytelling.

The exhibit will run through Friday, Feb. 26. It aims to shed light on the language-landscape connection once explored by authors such as Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau but less embraced by contemporary artists.

An opening reception, including a 6 p.m. walkthrough by artist and sculptor Scott Robert Hudson, will be held from 5-7 p.m. Jan. 29 in the gallery in the Harmon Fine Arts Center.  

By pairing the visual works with narrative, the goal of the exhibit is to bridge the divide among language, landscape and visual tradition. For example, the 20 Bison Skulls display will be paired with text describing the artist’s inspiration and intention for the piece.

“Part art and part storytelling, it is my hope that this exhibition will transcend both the literary and the visual and, instead, occupy a space somewhere in between,” said Matt Selsor, exhibit curator and director of the Anderson Gallery.

In Hudson’s story, he recounts his visit to the Badlands in search of buffalo skulls and the origin and meaning of the sculpture.

“Approximately six miles into our approach, we came across a scattering of buffalo bones,” Hudson wrote. “About 20 feet away I could make out a horn sticking up in the grass where I discovered a perfect skull. That same day, I imagined an idea for a sculpture. In my mind, I saw an actual buffalo skull that had been shaded with gradiations of black India ink.”

News Photo“To Know the Land” will include a selection of Hudson’s works
including: installations of bison and horse skulls; a video of a
controlled sculpture burn; wood, metal and mixed-media artifacts; and a
number of watercolor works on paper, pen and ink renderings and oil

Forum to supplement exhibit

In conjunction with the exhibit, Drake will host the Forum on Visual Art and the Environment on Thursday, Feb. 4.

Free and open to the public, the interdisciplinary forum will be held
from 5-6:30 p.m. in room 336 of the Harmon Fine Arts Center. Due to
limited seating, reservations are requested at 515-271-1994.

The forum aims to explore the relationship between environmental art
and language behind the “To Know the Land” exhibit. Topics will
include: the landscape’s effect on romantic literature and
transcendental thought; environmental history and the effect of
photography on visual culture.

The following Drake faculty members will speak at the forum:

  • Amahia K. Mallea, visiting assistant professor of history, who
    received a bachelor’s degree in history from Portland State University
    and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in history from the University of
  • Thomas Rosburg, associate professor of biology and director of
    Drake’s environmental science and policy program, who holds a
    bachelor’s degree in biology, master’s degree in plant ecology and a
    Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology all from Iowa State University
  • Lisa West, assistant professor of English, who received a
    bachelor’s degree in English and environmental studies from Williams
    College in Williamstown, Mass., and a Ph.D. in American Literature from
    Stanford University