Art and Science

Summer 2023 TLS Newsletter

Better Late Than Never: Alice Hargrave Finally Arrives For Her 2020 Artist-In-Residency Stay

by Gretchen Gerrish

Thanks to COVID-19 protocols and international travel limitations, artist Alice Hargrave took an unusual route to her TLS artist-in-residence session. In fact, Alice arrived on station well after her limnology-inspired “The Conference of the Lakes” exhibit was already on display!

Panels of Alice Hargrave's art hanging with lights reflecting from ceiling in large art galleryAlice learned about the long-running art residency program at TLS in the fall of 2019 at the Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) meeting. Already in collaboration with Illinois State University Professor of Geology, Catherine O’Reilly, Alice had developed the idea of tackling an art project to share lake data stories from around the world.

Her interest in a residency was both professional and personal. She has multigenerational connections to the area and its waters and describes the lake-rich Northwoods as her “spiritual home” where she built her “first memories of being in nature.” Alice, her grandmother, and mother grew up attending Camp Osoha, an all-girls summer camp formerly located on nearby Big Muskellunge Lake. She remembers family picnics at Cathedral Point on Trout Lake.

Inspired by both this place and the science, Alice began incorporating 20 global lake stories into her work. The following three Wisconsin lake stories were featured in her exhibit entitled The Conference of the Lakes.

Alice Hargrave's artistic panel depiction of mercury, salt and ice on/off of WI Lakes.– Mercury concentrations in food chains of lakes tightly follows changes in lake water level. Higher lake levels correlate with more mercury in the fish we love to eat. (Watras et al. 2020)

– Salt concentrations are increasing in the four big lakes around Madison over the last 50 years and road salts are the most likely driver of this change. (Dugan et al. 2017)

– Ice off and ice duration are increasingly variable in Northern Wisconsin lakes and walleye are less successful in extremely early or late ice off years. (Feiner et al. 2022)

In January of 2023, Alice finally arrived at Trout Lake Station for her residency, where she spent two wintry weeks in Halverson Cabin. With her The Conference of the Lakes and Tracing Teal (a data and audio feature of bird calls) exhibits successfully installed and receiving visitors at the University Galleries of Illinois State University, she spent her residency visualizing a new body of work celebrating the “fairy book” look of snow-whitened forests and lakes, reflecting on how these sights are “a luxury we don’t have in Chicago anymore.”

Whatever she comes up with next, we’re just happy we could help Alice continue her work, even if it was three years later than expected!

Fall 2022 Newsletter

Drawing Water: Art and Science Mentorship Program Produces Beautiful Results

This past summer, Trout Lake Station hosted three undergraduate artists for the entire field season as part of a program exploring new ways to share our science with wider audiences. Each student spent time doing fieldwork with a scientist mentor and time in the studio (or outdoors plein air painting) with an artist mentor. Having student artists living and working on station and interacting with other “Trout Lakers” helped students and researchers see the science they interact with daily in new ways and also added a new, vibrant aspect to our community. Below is a sample of each student’s work.

A Turtle’s Tale, 2022, Acrylic Paints

Cameo Boyle
“I want to show our connection with nature through my work. As humans we have the desire to be near nature such as plants and wildlife. We as humans depend on the natural world that supplies our daily needs.”

Sampling, 2022, Oil on canvas

Libby Hetzel
“Nature has always sought ideals. Ideals that are never perfectly realized, but that exist nonetheless: only as intangible concepts… Concepts that humans understand collectively; concepts that are evident in every methodical step we take to study our surroundings.”

Susan and Erin on Aurora Lake, 2022, Watercolor

Catherine Nelson
“My work is about connection: bringing people closer to each other and to the natural world around them. Influenced by both science and art, my work in each field is strengthened by skills I’ve learned in the other.”

Long-Term Ecological Reflections

Helen R. Klebesadel’s Floats from Crystal Lake artwork
Helen R. Klebesadel’s Floats from Crystal Lake

Long-Term Ecological Reflections  By Aubrey Vaughn

By 2010, more than 100,000 people in the northern Midwest had viewed the touring science-inspired art exhibit Paradise Lost? Climate Change in the North Woods. It had traveled two years longer than planned, ferried from community to community by a U-Haul and Terry Daulton, the biologist and artist who first proposed the project. It was a success beyond what any of its originators imagined when it was first proposed in 2006.”

Year arts activities began: 2006

Writers and artists hosted: 38 artists, including fiber artists, painters, writers, poets, and sculptors have been an artist-in-residence, with additional artists participating in the first art program, Paradise Lost? Learn more about the artists and view their art.