News Service


Ingrid Lilligren, Design, (515) 294-8883
Marilyn Vaughn, University Museums, (515) 294-3342
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- The meaning of "environment" and how it shapes our identities will be the focus of a multi-faceted arts event at Iowa State University beginning in March.

"Expanding Environments: Transforming Metaphors of Identity," is an art exhibition involving nine national artists at the Brunnier Art Museum, public forums, an outdoors art installation and a video project. The exhibit will run from March 10 to June 10.

"We're going to challenge people to consider different views of the environment and think about the way we choose to define environment and how our individual interpretations determine how we live and act," said Ingrid Lilligren, guest curator of the event and assistant professor of art and design.

The exhibit will focus on a variety of social, political and technological issues related to the natural and built environment, including clean water, human and plant genetics, hunger, urban gardens and golf courses.

The Brunnier Art Museum exhibition, opening March 10, consists of drawings, photographs, video and sculpture.

"This exhibition has a stellar line up of artists," said Jack Becker, publisher and founder of "Public Art Review." "I also am impressed with the diversity of approaches by these artists in regards to both built and natural landscapes. So often in exhibits like these, you are just looking at ecological issues and not dealing so much with the built environment, which is so much a part of our lives. This exhibit has a nice balance of the two."

Among the works are:

Other artists whose works will be featured in "Expanding Environments" are Wellington Reiter, Newton, Mass.; Richard Hansen, Penrose, Colo.; Betsy Damon, St. Paul, Minn.; Stephen Luoni, Gainesville, Fla.; Beliz Brother, Seattle, Wash.; and Mags Harries, Cambridge, Mass.

George Gessert of Eugene, Ore., has designed an outdoor installation at ISU's Reiman Gardens. "Persephone" uses planted daffodils and metal signs. Gessert's living work of art focuses on the aesthetic and ethical considerations associated with DNA as an art medium.

All of the artists will participate in three "Conversations on Environment" forums that will examine the "meanings of environment," said Lilligren. The forums will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in 290 Scheman on March 8, March 29 and April 12. ISU faculty members from a variety of disciplines, including art, engineering, agriculture and architecture, will participate. The forums are open to the public.

Another component of Expanding Environments is the development of a video catalog containing artist interviews, forum highlights, exhibition footage and curatorial statements. The video will be available for ISU faculty to use in class discussions on environmental issues.

"Many times shows like stand alone and the artists are not there," said Becker. "It's an incredible opportunity to have these artists there for discussion and debate, and to give people the opportunity to meet them and for them to meet each other."

Several of the artists also will get a feel for Iowa's environment through tours of a hog confinement facility and organic farm. The tours are still being scheduled.

"The artists were invited because of the way they move across cultures and span belief systems," said Lilligren. "I want to connect them with issues important to Iowans."

Expanding Environments is funded by the Brunnier Art Museum, College of Design, Lloyd and JaNelle Anderson, Fisher Representatives System Artist-in-Residence Fund, the departments of Architecture, Art and Design, Community and Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture.

For more information, access the Expanding Environments web site at http:/ or call Lilligren at (515) 294- 8883.


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