This past year, I received an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This body of work uses flora as a lens through which to view Minnesota’s changing climate. Work from this project was exhibited in “Response: Climate + Clay,” an exhibit at the American Swedish Institute in spring 2019.
As part of this project, I reached out to scientists and naturalists studying the impacts of climate change in Minnesota. These conversations were essential in understanding the scope of environmental threats, mitigation efforts, how aquatic and terrestrial invasives are reshaping Minnesota’s waterways and ecosystems.
The resulting work uses data visualization techniques as a way to create compositions. With data gathered from the Three Rivers Park District, I created a large tile panel that charts the invasion of noxious weeds within the park district over the last 30 years. A series of cylinders record the recent invasion of starry stonewort into Minnesota lakes. In smaller tiles, invasive species such as buckthorn and garlic mustard fill the foreground while the endangered species they replace retreat into shadow.
Ursula Hargens is a fiscal year 2018 recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.