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Lynden Blog

May 9, 2016 | Willy

by Andy Yencha, Senior Land Manager

LSG Prairie Burn - 4/23/16
Land Manager Weston Wagner tending the burn

Lynden’s grounds include several natural areas we manage as prairies. This means that within these habitats that range in size from 1-3 acres, we are trying to grow the native flowering plants and grasses that were once common in this part of Wisconsin before logging and farming transformed our landscape in the 1800’s. Once you get them growing, native plants require remarkably little care because, after living here for thousands of years, they are well adapted to our local soil and climate conditions. But getting them growing takes some work because existing “weedy” plants like Canada Thistle, Kentucky Bluegrass, European Buckthorn and Honeysuckle, don’t willingly vacate their space to newcomers, even when the new plants claim original title to the landscape. To discourage weeds and encourage native plants we use methods like manual weeding, mechanical mowing, and the judicious application of herbicides. In late April we tried another tool, a controlled fire, to achieve this same goal.

Fire creeps along consuming years of plant litter
Fire creeps along consuming years of plant litter

Why Fire Helps
Under the supervision and guidance of an experienced contractor we burned portions of our Northwest and Southeast prairies. Conditions for the fire were nearly perfect, including light but steady winds around 10 miles per hour, low relative humidity, and sunny skies. The fire moved slowly, converting years of accumulated plant litter into nutritious ash. After 6 hours we burned 3 acres and were happy with the results. By exposing large patches of soil and covering them with sunlight absorbing black cinders, the burn helps the ground warm up more quickly. This in turn will help desirable “warm-season” prairie plants get a head start over less desirable “cool-season” weeds.


Black earth will warm quickly benefiting prairie plants

Kill the KGB
One cool-season weed we especially hope to set back is Kentucky blue grass or KGB. Although desirable in our formal lawns, KGB is much too abundant in our prairies where it outcompetes native species for food and sunlight. Judging by the fire’s immediate aftermath, we successfully burned away a significant amount of newly greening KGB. Unfortunately, just burning away its leaves won’t kill it. The roots likely survived the fire and we suspect they contain enough food reserves to fuel new grass shoots. But hopefully, in the window of time it takes the KGB to recover, new prairie plants will gain a foothold. Over the 2016 growing season we’ll keep a close eye on the burn areas and provide updates on how the land recovers.


Charred blue grass

May 1, 2016 | Joe Acri

The evidence of the senses can be confusing.

April 1, 2016 | Joe Acri

I had been hearing rumors of the rafter of turkeys roaming the grounds last week, but mostly missing all but the stray turkey or two, until one morning I looked up from my computer and saw them, direc

March 1, 2016 | Joe Acri

March came in like an Angora rabbit--a slow but continuous fall of snow yesterday, filling the air with drifting flakes--and no doubt will go out in some new and unexpected way four weeks from now.

February 1, 2016 | Joe Acri

Warm weather over the weekend and yesterday's glorious sunshine have radically altered the landscape outside my window.

January 1, 2016 | Joe Acri

We are getting off to a late start at Lynden this year.

December 1, 2015 | Joe Acri

December is a short month at Lynden, so this will be a brief newsletter.

November 24, 2015 | Willy

In the second half of its twelfth cycle, funding assistance with shipping and travel was recommended for fifteen artists. These artists--five of them past Nohl Fellows—work in a range of media and their exhibitions will take them to Los Angeles and San Francisco, California; Denver, Colorado; Des Moines, Iowa; East Lansing, Michigan; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; Richmond, Virginia; and Kenosha, Wisconsin. Destinations abroad include Vancouver, Canada.

Bass Structures (Emmanuel Fritz & Collin Schipper) participated in an exhibition at the CREATE Art and Technology Festival in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the country's largest festival focusing on the intersection of visual art and technology and part of the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

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Jim Brozek opened a solo exhibition, "Iron Hulls and Turbulent Waters: Ore Boats, Workers and Great Lakes Shipping," at the Michigan State University Museum in East Lansing. The exhibition includes 24 photographs and a slide show made while working on the iron hulls. In conjunction with the exhibition, Brozek gave a public lecture, "Capturing the Iron Hulls from the Inside: Worker/photographer, Photographer/worker."

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Katy Cowan opens a solo exhibition at Cherry and Martin in November. She will be shipping large ceramic sculptures, wooden pallet-inspired sculptures, and paintings to the Los Angeles gallery.

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Maura Kelly Doyle traveled to Richmond, Virginia for Friends, a group exhibition at Mulberry Gallery. In addition to showing a photograph and two sculptures, Doyle gave a presentation about Present Works, the space she co-ran in Milwaukee, and explored ways to connect the two cities.

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Grant Gill and fellow Milwaukee-based artists Kyle Seis (2014 Nohl Fellow) and Zach Hill (2015 Nohl Fellow) are taking a group exhibition to Skylab Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. The exhibition is a multimedia installation containing works by each individual as well as collaborative works. The work responds to places visited on their way to Four Corners Monument.

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Michael J. Havice shipped two photographs to CORE New Art Space, a cooperative members gallery in Denver, Colorado, for Water, a juried into the exhibition.

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Yevgeniya Kaganovich attended the Midlife Metals Retreat at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and participated in the accompanying exhibition. The retreat for academic metalsmiths focuses on collaborative materials research.

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Kelly Kirsthner presented her live audiovisual work, "Falling in Terms of Silent" at The Third Work: Sound/Image/Interaction, a research symposium on sound in non-fiction media at Hunter College in New York City. In addition to performing, Kirshtner discussed the work's audiovisual design and development.

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Angela Laughingheart participated, with Dot Spransy, in a hat-themed, two-person exhibition at the Anderson Arts Center in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Laughingheart exhibited crafted fiber hats, drawings and paintings of hats, and a sketchbook of designs.

Laughingheart

Kendall Polster participated in a two-person exhibition at the Lindsay Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. Polster's work included 10 welded, repurposed scrap metal sculptures.

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Nirmal Raja & Nina Ghanbarzadeh exhibited together for the first time in a two-person show at the Hinterland Art Space in Denver, Colorado. Work included site-specific installations, prints, and mixed media pieces utilizing writing, text, and language.

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Nathaniel Stern and collaborator Erin Manning created a site-specific version of Weather Patterns: the smell of red at the Vancouver Art Gallery as part of the annual International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) in Vancouver, Canada. The walk-through installation includes tornado machines, spices, fans and fabric. There will be an accompanying publication.

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Sonja Thomsen will participate in a group exhibition at the Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco curated by gallery director Ann Jastrab. Thomsen, who attended graduate school in San Francisco and has not exhibited in that city since 2004, will attend the opening.

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Melissa Wagner-Lawler was invited to show an artist book and a new etching in Parts of a Whole 3 at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis. The group exhibition features artists recently associated with MCBA.

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Shane Walsh will travel to New York City to execute an installation painting as part of a group exhibition at Asya Geisberg Gallery. The exhibition will include three additional paintings of his.

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Jason S. Yi spent several days in the downtown Capital Square Atrium making "Terraform," a large site-specific sculpture, for Art Week Des Moines in Iowa. He was sponsored by Transient Gallery, a new noncommercial space.

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November 1, 2015 | Joe Acri

With the Nohl Fellowship jurying coming so late in October (watch for an announcement of the 2015 fellows very soon), and that lovely interlude of warm weather, it is difficult to fathom that we are a

October 7, 2015 | Willy

This is the tenth in a series of blog posts by Pegi Christiansen, who was a Lynden artist in residence through October 2015. Learn more about her residency here.

On July 31 and August 1, Theresa Columbus flew in from Maryland, Jennifer Holmes from California, and John Loscuito from Florida so the four of us could work on the Distance exhibit (September 28-October 11) and accompanying performance (October 10 and 11 at 4:00). I invited these three artists--who had never met each other before--to participate in Distance. Jennifer was the only one of us who had never been to Lynden.

Theresa was the first to arrive, on Friday night, and pointed out there was a blue moon. This means it was the second full moon in the month, something that only occurs every two to three years. Both of us thought this perfectly characterized our year of art making.

On Saturday morning, I picked up Jennifer at the airport and the four of us went out for breakfast to map out what we would be doing until everyone left town on Wednesday.

We returned to Lynden and, for the first time, got to see the exquisite corpses we had been making separately for eleven months on 11” by 15” pieces of paper. If you come to the October performances, you will see them too and learn more about how these happened. It was a wonder to point to some of the ways, though hundreds of miles apart, we were aware of each other’s intentions. For instance in July, without anyone knowing what the other three were doing, there were circles in everyone’s images. We decided how we wanted the visual exquisite corpses arranged in the gallery, as well as our monthly dawn photos and, with Polly’s help, the text corpses.

For the remainder of Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, our time and energy was devoted to working on the Distance performance. Since February we had been writing the script for the forty-minute performance, but we needed to block it and, in some cases, to revise the script based on our actions. Every night Jennifer, John, and Theresa stayed up late at Lynden reviewing the day’s revisions.

Polly encouraged us to go out for dinner one night. Monday I drove everyone over to the River Lane Inn. We sat outside while the sun set on a gorgeous evening. I asked everyone if they would mind sharing something important personally and professionally (outside of the Distance project) that had happened during our year of collaborating. This ended up sparking incredible conversation. I described how the “Failure Round Robin” I organized at Lynden in April had liberated me. John gave examples of how he is making new opportunities available for artists in his new position. Theresa explained her “kidult” concept with adults and kids creating theater together. I have always viewed Jennifer as a total Amazon, and realized she was more vulnerable than I had imagined.

August was the final month for making visual and text exquisite corpses and our dawn photos. As another way to take advantage of our time together at Lynden, we completed the August text corpse by dinnertime on Tuesday, and that morning I arrived early so we could take our dawn photos with each other. We had selected inside and outside the bathhouse by the pond as our location. John and Jennifer took selfies, and Jennifer helped to take pictures of Theresa and me. Afterwards, we took this picture of the four of us.

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Left to right, John Loscuito, Theresa Columbus, Pegi Christiansen, Jennifer Holmes

Just as Polly needed to close the gallery on Tuesday, we finished blocking. We figured out all the next steps, and by Wednesday Jennifer, John, and Theresa were back in their own corners of the United States.


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