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 Brandon Ballengee  (20/21st century)

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Lived/Active: New York / Switzerland      Known for: art with enviromental and technology themes

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Exploring the boundaries between art, science and technology, Brandon Ballengée creates multidisciplinary works out of information generated from ecological field trips and laboratory research. Since 1996, Ballengée has collaborated with numerous scientists to conduct primary biological research and advanced imaging procedures. These activities were outlined in Ecoventions, a book published in 2002 by the Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati.

He has collected specimens for several scientific organizations, including the Peabody Museum at Yale University, The American Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at U.C. Berkeley and others. In 2001, he was nominated for membership into Sigma XI, the Scientific Research Society. His works have been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Beijing, Vienna, London, Seoul, and other cities. These projects have appeared on ABC's World News Tonight, BBC's Today Show and in Art Press, GENEWATCH, MIT's LEONARDO Journal, The Journal of Experimental Zoology, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Sculpture Magazine, The Sciences and others.

His theoretical article, "The Origins and Application of Artificial Selection" is included in the new anthology "Biomediale" published by the National Center for Contemporary Art in Kaliningrad, Russia. In January of 2002 and 2006, he co-taught an ecology art and neotropical evolution course in Costa Rica for Hartwick College. In addition, he regularly conducts ecology/ field biology/ genetics and digital imaging workshops open to the general public at urban parks, zoos, petstores and fish markets.

Ballengée has also attended several artist in residency programs. In 2003 he was an artist in residence at the Natural History Museum in London. He participated in the 2004 Geumgang Nature Art Biennale in Gung Ju, South Korea. In 2005, he participated in the Waterways Project which was installed at the Venice Biennale. Recent solo exhibitions of his work were held at Wave Hill (New York City), The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (NYC), Archibald Arts (NYC), and the Yager Museum (Oneonta, NY) and Kunstverein Ingolstadt in Ingolstadt, Germany. He serves on the board of directors for the Peoples Museum of New York and NurtureArt Non-Profit, Inc. He currently is working towards a dual art and science Ph.D. at the University of Applied Sciences and Art, Hochschule für Gestaltung in Zürich, Switzerland.

Imaging Biodiversity; The Salamanders of New York State (A collaborative project with Dr. Stanley K. Sessions) Hartwick College Science Center, Oneonta, N.Y.

The Red Bloom and Brown Tide; A Visual Survey of Toxic Microalgae The Hillwood Art Museum, Long Island University C.W. Post Campus, Brooksville, N.Y.
The Tragedy of Miscalculated Reason 76 Varick, N.Y.C.
ACME. LABS variation 3 (with an introduction to the FERMI WORM)

The Holland Tunnel Art Projects, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Obsessive Behavioral Study: Subject; Franz Kline and the Potato Project Ulysses Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio

Down the Belly of the Smithson Serpent, Art Academy of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

Woods of the Mind Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland

Lament for the Death of the Red Contraption Fort Hayes Gallery, Columbus, Ohio

Artist Statement:
My work attempts to blur the already ambiguous boundaries between environmental art and ecological research. When initiating a project I often solicit technological or theoretical information from field biologists, or zoological organizations. In other cases, I have collaborated with scientists to create a work. As an artist involved in wildlife preservation, global disappearances of biodiversity is both a concern and a focus.

My approach towards nature has been influenced by earlier Earth/Eco artists such as Betty Beaumont, Agnes Denes and the Harrisons. Likewise it is inspired by the political philosophies of Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School.

Over the past six years I have been studying global species decline. Currently I am a field observer for the United States Geological Survey's North American Reporting Center for Amphibian Malformation (NARCAM). I have participated in and instigated numerous wetlands surveys throughout North America.

A recent project involves working with The Gaia Institute and The New York State Museum to populate newly created waste water management sites throughout New York City with native amphibians. The amphibians will not only control mosquito populations but will act as environmental flags to help monitor the health of the wetlands.

All aspects of the project are being documented and will be exhibited in installation format and as a website in the future. The data obtained from this kind of field work is transformed into a visual dialogue that becomes a conceptual form of environmental outreach.

The Green Museum

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