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Compelling Ground: Landscapes, Environments, and Peoples of Iowa

About the Exhibition

Twenty-five years ago the exhibition Land of the Fragile Giants: Landscapes, Environments, and Peoples of the Loess Hills opened at the Brunnier Art Museum. The exhibition invited artists to visit the Loess Hills in western Iowa and create art inspired by the unique geological region. Twenty-five years later, in honor of the original exhibition, but also as a moment to observe and examine the drastic changes that have taken place in the state of Iowa, University Museums presents the new exhibition – Compelling Ground: Landscapes, Environments, and Peoples of Iowa.

Like the original, artists were asked to create art inspired by Iowa, but instead of focusing on a singular region, the entire state was open for interpretation along with an added emphasis on the changes that have occurred. Not only is the Iowa landscape the most altered in the country, the changes that have occurred in the past twenty-five years have significantly affected the environments, landscapes, and people of this state.
Each artist has represented their own sense of place within Iowa while reflecting those changes that have and continue to occur using various media and materials. In addition, a selection of art that was created for the exhibition Land of the Fragile Giants provides a review of the original exhibition from twenty-five years ago provides insight into the original exhibition.

Nineteen artists contributed to the exhibition, creating a diverse range of art and installations with various media. Participating artists include: Mel Andringa, Jeff Baldus, Gary Bowling, Christine Carr, Rebecca Ekstrand, Fred Easker, Barbara Fedeler, Rose Frantzen, Pete Goché, Ingrid Lilligren, Mary Merkel-Hess, Joseph Muench, John Preston, Randy Richmond, Brian Roberts, Grant William Thye, Ellen Wagener, Joan Webster-Vore and Tilly Woodward.


Date(s): 01/25/2021 to 07/23/2021



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Brunnier Art Museum
Ames, Iowa United States