Nebraska native Dan Bruggeman teaches in the fine art department at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. During his 30-year career, he has been awarded numerous grants, including the Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, an Arts Midwest/NEA Visual Art Grant and a McKnight Foundation Grant.
Dan’s paintings reveal the sometimes odd intersection between manmade structures and nature.
My paintings are representations of the midwestern landscape. This subject is compelling because it is vast, a little threatening, and, at times, uncanny. The allegorical scenes I paint exist within this environment and are like idle theater sets, awaiting a protagonist or lamenting its departure. These places and objects have certainly belonged to someone and have shared a form of human intimacy. Had they been watching, they may know more about us than we, them. I record the bleak winter vignette, the unmoored chapel, and the clothesline draped with laundry emphasizing their inanimate state; forlorn and poetic. These objects emerge as the subject of my work because I embrace their strangely suspended state of being. That state, which the philosopher Jane Bennett calls “enchantment,” recognizes the unusual and sometimes disturbing aspects of everyday objects and experiences that, once recognized, might help us contemplate our responsibilities as stewards of nature. Their status as a record of human activity reminds me of both the promise and threat that has always told the story of the North American landscape and is a further reminder of the delicate and precarious status of our environment.
Dan Bruggeman was featured on MN Original in February, 2015: