In the exhibition, Land Ethic, Katie Ries is concerned about modern life: the resources it requires, the lure of screens and “likes”, and the sobering forecasts of climate change. In response to these concerns, she makes art that invites viewers to engage in small, concrete steps toward environmental sustainability and community engagement. These themes show up in two ongoing bodies of work: the Land Scouts and Plants to Know.
Borrowing from the aesthetics of scouting, The Land Scouts introduce ideas of land stewardship and conservation. Through a series of ten values and associate badges, participants gain awareness of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of the natural world.
Plants to Know draws from the visual language of printed ephemera to highlight common plants. The plants included are good ones to know both for their ubiquity in our urban environment, and for their traditions of medicinal and culinary use. This work seeks to turn viewers on to the wonders and complexities of our world.
Land Ethic was made possible through the generosity of 2020 Circle of Giving Member, Bonnie Hall.
The exhibition will be on view in the Hanson Gallery from June 22 – July 18.
Katie Ries is an artist and educator who makes drawings, prints, objects, and events about environmentalism. A graduate of the University of Tennessee – Knoxville (MFA) and Colorado College (BA), Ries is the founder of the Land Scouts, an open troop teaching the foundations of land stewardship. She is an Associate Professor of Art at St. Norbert College.