December 2, 2017 – January 13, 2018
Panel Discussion: Saturday, December 2, 12:30 p.m.
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 2, 2-5 p.m.
Meg Ojala has lived in Minnesota most of her life and has taught photography at St. Olaf College for over 30 years. In 2017, she was awarded an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to research, explore, and photograph bogs. She intends for the resulting photographs to make the insights of natural science visible and to call attention to the ambiguous nature of these beguiling ecosystems.
While Ojala has often focused on the landscape and waterways near her studio in Dundas, Minnesota, for this project she has spent the past two years photographing, researching, and imagining the bogs and fens of the north. As the artist explains, “I’ve walked and waded into the peatlands of northern Minnesota and traveled to Finland, Scotland, and Ireland.”
She continues, “Bogs are disorienting, often impassable, ambiguous, slowly changing entities. They are ecologically crucial and rich with associations. Bogs are paradoxical, bewildering, and they compress time and space. … The disciplines of art and science are both creative endeavors, and can enrich each other. Natural science can be made visible through art, and the supporting structure of scientific research can make visual art more complex and effective. The exhibit will be an example of how scientific research can inspire and sustain an artist’s work. I see a need to draw viewers in to pay close attention to ecological systems and encourage empathy for our non-human world.”
The artist will be present at the opening reception Saturday, December 2nd from 2-5 pm. Prior to the opening at 12:30pm, there will be a panel discussion about bogs from four different perspectives. The panelists will include Scott King, dragon fly expert, printer, publisher, poet, writer from Northfield; John Latimer, phenologist and popular radio show host from Grand Rapids, Minnesota; Katrina Vandenberg, poet who publishes with Milkweed and teaches at Hamline University, and the artist, Meg Ojala. The exhibition runs through January 13, 2018.