In 2018 the Iowa State Legislature took nearly all funding from The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, world-renowned for its research in sustainable agricultural practices. The decision shows up as a single line, or strike-through of text in the proposed legislation. The blunt action of a “line-out” appears simple, a single line, but the consequences and signals of this action are significant. In this case, the line strikes through the prioritization of research in agricultural practices that will enrich and sustain both the soil and the farmer. Instead, it shifts the focus to “management” of the nutrient run-off. The run-off of applied manure pollutes the waters of Iowa and holds the farmer in a endless state of reapplication of “nutrients.” In the past, I have considered the line as a thing which connects and aligns; it is a builder of form. It is a beginning. The line used in appropriations is a line of negation. As part of a broader response to this legislative action and to the loss of soil and water health in Iowa, I created two drawings for the exhibition, “Re-Imagining Leopold.” In them, prairie grasses are placed on paper in a composition in the style of botanical illustration and the space around them is lined out.
Embark is the inaugural exhibition for Rush Hall at Wilkins and the George Stout Fellowship for Art in the Public Sphere.
The exhibit features work from five artists focusing on themes that emerged from the cultural history of the Younkers Tea Room, aspects of the local history in Madison County and the rural Midwest, global ecology and the human/non-human relationship, and formal explorations of shifting and layered grids. The exhibit will be unveiled in conjunction with the re-opening of the Tea Room on September 6th and closing January 3rd, 2018.
Happy to be found here:
The Correspondence Project was recently honored to be a part of the National Endowment for the Arts 50th Anniversary celebration. Watch the short video below to see more on this project and the arts in Iowa.