International artist, biologist and environmental educator Brandon Ballengée opens the gallery season with Sea of Vulnerability, a series of trans-disciplinary installations, assemblages, and mixed media artworks inspired from his ecological field and laboratory research that offer dramatic visual representations of biological species that are in decline, threatened, or already lost to extinction. The exhibit is on display from September 14 – November 5, 2017. An artist lecture will be on Thursday, September 14 from 3:30 – 4:30 pm in Westby Hall, Room 111 with a reception to follow from 5:00 – 7:30 pm at Rowan University Art Gallery, 301 West High St. in Glassboro.
The lecture is sponsored by the College of Communication and Creative Arts as part of the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series in partnership with the College of Science and Math, and the School of Earth & Environment.
Concurrently, RUAG will present Brandon Ballengée’s light emitting sculpture Love Motel for Insects, in partnership with the Freedom Prep Charter School and Virtua Camden, at 1000 Atlantic Ave, Camden N.J. 08104. Standing at 12 feet high by 15 feet long Love Motel for Insects is an ongoing series of public art installations intended to construct situations between humans and arthropods. The works use ultra-violet lights on large sculpted canvases to attract flying moths and create an opportunity for public interactions with nocturnal arthropods, which are not often seen. Join us fo ra Bug Watch, Wednesday, September 13th at 7:00 pm. This installation will be on view from September 14, 2017 — March of 2018.
Other works in the gallery exhibition include a 9 foot high tower of 26,162 preserved specimens representing 370 species of fish and other aquatic organisms collected from the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill; an installation of foliage representative of the lush forest habitat of South America and a video of a Tennessee warbler that collided with a mirrored glass window in the Wall Street area of Manhattan; larger than life size series of photographs of chemically “clearing and staining” terminally deformed frogs found in nature; and a series of cut images of missing animals from historic prints and publications printed at the time in history when the depicted species became extinct.
For nearly 20 years Brandon Ballengée has merged his scientific research with ecological art in trans-disciplinary 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 which include biological materials, large-scale scanner photographs, site-specific installations in gallery and outdoor settings, and participatory community-based trans-species happenings. The exhibition, with public and educational programming, serves as a platform for discussions that explore our local and global environment, understand its biodiversity, and consider the interface of art and science.
In 2013 the first career survey of his work debuted at the Château de Charamarande in Essonne (France), and travelled to the Museum Het Domein in Sittard (Netherlands) in 2014. A mid-career retrospective of his work opened at the University of Wyoming Art Museum in 2016. His art has been featured in several major US publications, including ARTnews, Art in America, The New York Times, New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Orion, Audubon Magazine and Sculpture. He was recently featured on Articulate with Jim Cotter that aired on Philadelphia's PBS channel.
He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Plymouth (England) in collaboration with the Hochschule für Gestaltung Zürich (Switzerland). From 2009 through 2015 he was a Visiting Scientist at McGill University (Montréal, Canada) and in 2011 he was awarded a conservation leadership fellowship from the National Audubon Society’s TogetherGreen Program (USA). Currently he is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science studying the impact on fishes from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The gallery is located at 301 High Street West. Free 2-hour public parking is available in the Mick Drive Parking Garage across the street from the gallery.
Admission to the gallery, lecture, and reception is free and open to the public. Regular gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 10 am to 5 pm; Thursday — Saturday, 10 to 7 pm. Directions can be found on the gallery website. For more information, call 856-256-4521 or visit rowan.edu/artgallery.
Ballengee's work is presented courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts and the artist. Support for programming at Rowan University Art Galleries has been made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.