Brandon Ballengée Praeter Naturam: Beyond Nature
Praeter Naturam: Beyond Nature
Visual artist, biologist, and environmental activist Brandon Ballengée (born 1974, Sandusky, Ohio) creates transdisciplinary artworks inspired by his research into what can only be described as today’s preternatural—or beyond natural—environments. Since 1996, his central primary scientific investigation and much of his art has focused on the occurrence of developmental deformities and population declines among amphibians and fish, as well as birds and insects.
Ballengée’s methodology posits art as a means of realizing research science and vice versa. Inherent in this approach is his “ecosystem activism” implemented through biology field investigations and laboratory programs that stress public involvement. Based in Arnaudville, Louisiana, he’s currently researching the impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on fish in the Gulf of Mexico, both through community “citizen science” surveys and his portable art-science museum of Gulf biodiversity.
Exhibited internationally, Ballengée’s work was the subject of a 2016 solo retrospective at University of Wyoming Art Museum in Laramie. As a scientist, Ballengée's research has been published in the Journal of Experimental Zoology and received international media attention from the BBC among other outlets. From 2009 through 2015, he was a visiting scientist at McGill University (Montreal, Canada), and in 2011, awarded a conservation leadership fellowship from the National Audubon Society and Toyota’s TogetherGreen Program (USA) for his series Love Motels for Insects. Currently, Ballengée is a postdoctoral research associate at the Museum of Natural Science at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) and a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow in Washington, DC.
Cosponsored by Ohio State’s Humanities and Arts Discovery Themes: Environmental Humanities, Human Rights in Transit, Collaboration for Humane Technologies, and Science and Technology Studies.
Brandon Ballengée, DFA 186: Hadēs, 2012. Unique digital-C print on watercolor paper. Cleared and stained Pacific tree frog collected in Aptos, California in scientific collaboration with Stanley K. Sessions. 46 x 34 in. Courtesy the artist and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York, NY.
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