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UW Art Museum Presents Exhibition, Public Programs by Artist and Biologist Brandon Ballengée

May 18, 2016
translucent image of tadpole on black background
“Morpheus” will be among works in the exhibition “Waste Land: A Survey of Works by Brandon Ballengée, 1996-2016,” which will open Saturday, Aug. 27, at the UW Art Museum. (Brandon Ballengée)

Artist and biologist Brandon Ballengée will offer a series of educational events starting this summer in conjunction with a major exhibition at the University of Wyoming Art Museum and a public art installation in Laramie’s Depot Park.

The UW Art Museum will present the first U.S. survey of Ballengée’s works. The project includes “Waste Land: A Survey of Works by Brandon Ballengée, 1996-2016,” which will open Saturday, Aug. 27, and continue through Dec. 17 at the UW Art Museum; a site-specific installation, titled “Love Motel for Insects: Laramie Depot Park Variation and Pollinator Garden,” on view June 25-Sept. 17; a series of educational and community-based events; and an exhibition catalog. The opening reception is scheduled Friday, Sept. 9, from 6-9 p.m. at the UW Art Museum.

For almost 20 years, Ballengée has merged his scientific research with ecological art in transdisciplinary works that bridge art and science, and has engaged in community-based environmental stewardship. Ballengée’s work is inspired by direct observation with amphibians, birds, fish and insect species found in today’s ecosystems and direct experience in scientific laboratory settings.

He works in diverse media, including biological materials, large-scale scanner photographs, installations in both gallery and outdoor settings, and participatory, community-based transspecies happenings.

“Waste Land: A Survey of Works by Brandon Ballengée, 1996-2016” presents more than 100 works and installations that explore the evolution of his creative and scientific work. Included in the exhibition will be works from such series as “Malamp: The Occurrence of Deformities in Amphibians,” based on his biological research and artwork exploring the decline and potential causes of deformities among amphibian populations; “Frameworks of Absence,” which explores the loss of species over time; and “A Habit of Deciding Influence,” photographs made from Darwin’s personal collection of pigeons while an artist in resident at the Natural History Museum, London.

He titles his series and the exhibition with references drawn from literature and poetry.

Ballengée, in addition to faculty, curators and educators from the Art Museum, UW Biodiversity Institute and other partners, will present several public programs during the summer and fall. Events are open to the public and free, unless otherwise noted.

The schedule:

Tuesday, June 21, 10 a.m. -- Pollinator Awareness Week Planting Day; Pollinator Garden in Laramie’s Depot Park.

Monday, July 18-Friday, July 22 -- Bug Boot Camp; activities for children ages 6-12 in three Laramie parks, UW Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center and Art Museum; fee based.

Monday, July 25-Friday, July 29 -- Summer Teaching Institute; UW Visual Arts Building; fee based.

Monday, July 25, 8-11 p.m. -- Moth Awareness Week, Citizen Science Evening Mothing Event; various locations.

Friday, Aug. 26, 4-7 p.m. and 9-11 p.m. -- Laramie Farmers Market and After Hours Picnic.

Wednesday, Sept. 7, Oct. 5 and Nov. 2, noon -- “Conversations with Curators”; Art Museum.

Friday, Sept. 9-Saturday, Sept. 10 -- “Re-Envisioning the Lab: Sci-Art Symposium”; Visual Arts Building; fee based.

For a complete list of programs, visit www.uwyo.edu/artmuseum.

The exhibition and public programs are presented in partnership with the Laramie Depot Board, Laramie Garden Club, Laramie Main Street Alliance, Laramie Parks and Recreation, Laramie Public Art Coalition, UW Biodiversity Institute, UW Department of Art and Art History, UW Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, UW MFA in Creative Writing Program and UW Science and Mathematics Teaching Center.

The project is funded, in part, by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, an anonymous sponsor, Edelweiss Funds, Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Laramie Beautification Committee, the National Endowment for the Arts, Neltje, Ron and Patti Salvagio Endowment for Art Museum Programs, Sigrid See Excellence Fund for the UW Art Museum Teacher Institute, UW Art Museum Gala Funds, UW Art Museum National Advisory Board endowment, UW Biodiversity Institute, UW Geological Museum, UW Haub School for Environment and Natural Resources, UW Science and Mathematics Teaching Center, and Wyoming Public Media.

For more information, call the Art Museum at (307) 766-6622, visit the website at www.uwyo.edu/artmuseum, or follow the museum on Facebook and Instagram.

Through its “Museum as Classroom” approach, the UW Art Museum places art at the center of learning for all ages. Located in the Centennial Complex at 2111 Willett Drive in Laramie, the museum is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday hours are extended to 7 p.m. February through April and September through November. Admission is free.

About Brandon Ballengée

Ballengée, a visual artist, biologist and environmental advocate, lives and works in Lafayette, La. He creates transdisciplinary artworks inspired from his ecological field and laboratory research. Since 1996, a central investigation focus has been the occurrence of developmental deformities and population declines among amphibians. In 2001, he was nominated for membership into Sigma XI, the Scientific Research Society. In 2009, Ballengée and S.K. Sessions published “Explanation for Missing Limbs in Deformed Amphibians” in the “Journal of Experimental Zoology” and received international media attention from the BBC and others. This scientific study was the inspiration for the book “Malamp: The Occurrence of Deformities in Amphibians” (published by Arts Catalyst & Yorkshire Sculpture Park, U.K.) and solo exhibition at the Royal Institution of Great Britain (London, England: 2010).

Between 2009-2015, he continued his amphibian research as a visiting scientist at McGill University (Montréal, Canada). In 2011, he was awarded a conservation leadership fellowship from the National Audubon Society’s TogetherGreen Program. In 2014, he received his Ph.D. in transdisciplinary art and biology from Plymouth University (U.K.) in association with Zürich University of the Arts and Applied Sciences (Switzerland). He currently is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Natural Sciences at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La.

In the summer of 2013, the first career survey of Ballengée’s work debuted at the Château de Chamarande in Essonne (France) and traveled to the Museum Het Domein in Sittard (Netherlands) in 2014. Also, in 2014, his monumental installation “Collapse” and the print series “Ghosts of the Gulf” were exhibited at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. His work previously has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and internationally in 17 countries, including Canada, Argentina, England, Germany, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Russia, India, China, South Korea and Australia.

His art has been featured in several major U.S. publications, including ARTnews, Art in America, The New York Times, New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Orion, Audubon Magazine and Sculpture. Internationally, it also was featured in Beaux Arts (France), Liberation (France), L’Oeil (France), The Observer (England), The Guardian (England), Financial Times (England), BBC News (England), D’Ars (Italy), Domenica (Italy), Il Venerdi (Italy), The Sunday Guardian: New Delhi (India) and others. Ballengée is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York, N.Y., and Nowhere Gallery in Milan, Italy.


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Chad Baldwin

Institutional Communications

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