THE WILD BEASTS
June 22. The Barnum Factory, 97 Indiana Ave. Des Moines, IA 50309
Chicken Tractor is proud to announce its contribution to Art Week Des Moines, a one-night exhibit of work by four of Iowa's most talented artists. Their works are heavy with the dialogue between predator and prey. They honor the lives and deaths of Iowa's wildlife with work describing the persistent alertness required for survival, and reflecting the artifacts and environments created by human violence.
HEIDI WIREN BARTLETT
My work is concerned with the portrayal, oppression and subversive existence of women in America today. As a white woman raised by a lesbian on the plains of Nebraska, I feel obligated to confront racial and misogynistic injustice and my escape from it, into the prairie. I see my body as an object of power and vulnerability and I see Nature and its processes the same way. Together these inspire a practice that illuminates the overlooked and forgotten. In my hybrid practice I create objects, installations, ritual performances, videos, and collaborative works.
LEE EMMA RUNNING
Everything I create investigates the beauty and complexity of natural phenomena. I use the simple tools of projection, tracing, stenciling and cutting to identify and expand characteristics of biological ephemera. My home in Central Iowa is 6 miles from Interstate 80. Here the deer herd numbers 400,000. They were nearly hunted to extinction in 1900. Now, with no natural predators the animals feed and shelter in endless rows of feed corn. In my agricultural state they are both vermin and trophy.
Year round the highways are littered with road kill. In the early spring I walk creek beds and ditches to retrieve the bones washed away and cleaned by vultures and insects. The incomplete nature of these skeletons carry evidence of the automobiles that struck them and the gnawed marks of the scavengers they sustained.
I polish the bones to a porcelain shine and then engrave an image of a lacy network onto their surface. With a jeweler’s tool I carve the bones and remove the marrow from their core. Once hollow and clean I gild the internal chamber with 24 karat gold. I am building a precious relic of something silent and wild that lives and dies by our agriculture, our economies, and our speed.
One of Iowa's most noted artists, Larassa's work has been featured by the White House, acquired by the Des Moines Art Center, and has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions in New York and elsewhere, Often creating large scale, photorealistic drawings, Larassa also creates with mixed media, sculpture, and in collaboration with other artists.
My work embodies a symbolic language in which I explore themes including inner confrontation, spirituality, vulnerability, and death. I am interested in the complexity of human behavior from our celebratory moments to disastrous events. In observing the extremes both the dark and light of humanity are present. In understanding our polarities, we establish a new sense of awareness. By exploring the dark side of human nature we can engage in discussion to heal our "collective shadow" including violence. I seek to stimulate conversations about how communities can unite to heal our past and work to minimize violent acts in the future.