Mon. April 4, 7:30 p.m., Williams Center 108

The Fading Poetry of Feathered Dinosaurs

Since the beginning of art, avian species have captured the human imagination with visions of flight and aspirations of freedom. Such birds even inspired Charles Darwin and influenced his ideas on species changing over time. Yet, what does it mean when an individual bird’s gift of flight is taken away because of chemicals impacting development? Or an ancient avian species (feathered dinosaur) disappears completely within our lifetime? Today many types of birds are suffering from unprecedented declines, especially migratory species (in Northeast alone, over 300 species annually migrate through). Unfortunately, they often become, exhausted, injured or are killed trying to find shelter and food as many become disoriented by illuminated structures or collide into deceptive building glass. As Rachel Carlson predicted long ago, spring has grown increasingly quiet. Join artist/ biologist Dr. Brandon Ballengée for an illustrated presentation of his artworks focused on avian species and conservation. Ballengée’s bird related artworks were the subject of a new book From Scales to Feathers  copublished by the Williams Center Gallery, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery (UK) and the Museum Het Domaine (the Netherlands)

A book signing follows.

Artist, biologist and environmental educator, Brandon Ballengée creates transdisciplinary artworks inspired from his ecological field and laboratory research. Since 1996, a central investigation focus has been the occurrence of developmental deformities and population declines among amphibians and other ectothermic vertebrates. From 2009 through 2015 he continued his amphibian research as a Visiting Scientist at McGill University (Montréal, Canada) and in 2011 he was awarded a conservation leadership fellowship from the National Audubon Society’s TogetherGreen Program (USA). Ballengée’s art has been exhibited internationally and in the summer of 2013 the first career survey of his work debuted at the Château de Charamarande in Essonne (France), and travelled to the Museum Het Domein in Sittard (Netherlands) in 2014. A mid-career retrospective of his work will open this fall at the University of Wyoming Art Museum. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Plymouth (England) in collaboration with the Hochschule für Gestaltung Zürich (Switzerland). Currently he is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Biological Sciences Department at Louisiana State University studying the impact on fishes from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.


Image: The artist holds a bird killed in a collision with a window.