Eddee Daniel: Art and Nature: Attitudes and Edges

Photo: Eddee Daniel

Eddee Daniel's practice has long combined his twin interests in the arts and the environment. He has also been a member of the Lynden Sculpture Garden since it opened to the public in 2010, and was, with Philip Krejcarek, among the first artists to participate in Lynden's Inside/Outside series. Daniel's lengthy and personal connection with the place--as an art teacher, he began bringing his students to what was then the Bradley Sculpture Garden two decades ago--and Lynden's dual mission as a sculpture garden and nature sanctuary, create two layers of familiarity from which to construct a residency.

Daniel will divide his time at Lynden between two projects, one involving photography and the other outdoor sculpture. He will make seasonal pilgrimages to the garden to create a series of photographs that will become a conceptual book. Daniel's photography practice generally avoids pre-visualization or a predetermined outcome--he prefers to explore a place or subject, to discover imagery relating to that subject, and to produce a coherent body of work based on his discoveries--but at Lynden he expects that his familiarity will enable him to work in a more abstract vein in response to the minimalist and abstract qualities of the sculpture collection.

Daniel's ideas for a sculptural intervention in the landscape are more speculative, perhaps an opportunity to put long dormant concepts into practice. He has admired the environmental and nature-based work of Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash, Urs Twellmann and Alan Sonfist, and appreciates the work of his fellow Milwaukeean, Kevin Giese, with whom he will collaborate.

About the Artist

Eddee Daniel grew up near New York City where he spent formative years exploring suburban wilds. He has never lost that early curiosity, the drive to discover everything he can about his surroundings, an appreciation for nature in the midst of human enterprise, or the propensity to make the best of what is before him.

His training at both the University of Wisconsin—Madison and the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee emphasized aesthetic formalism. The inclination to formal geometries lingers as his horizons have broadened. His practice has evolved in response to concerns about the social and environmental implications of living in an increasingly abstract environment.

Daniel brings over 30 years' experience working with environmental non-profit organizations as well as teaching art, photography and architecture to his current full time practice.Teaching positions have included Carroll University, Mount Mary University and the University of Wisconsin—Waukesha.

Since the 1990’s Daniel has used the paradoxical term Urban Wilderness to symbolize the complexity of his experiences as well as his creative responses to the tensions and themes it suggests. The term Urban Wilderness, which is rich with hope as well as contradiction, has provided a conceptual underpinning for the various bodies of work he has undertaken in the past 20 years. These bodies of work include the Urban Wilderness Project, the Icon Series, Accidental Art: Construction Fences in the Landscape, the Reverie Series, Synecdoche: the fragment that represents the whole and Hard Ecology: Rethinking Nature in an Abstract Landscape.

Exhibitions include Milwaukee Art Museum; Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL; Colorado Photographic Art Center, Denver, CO; Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, WI; Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, CA; Aberdeen Gallery, Washington, DC; Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI; 12 12 Gallery, Richmond, VA; CambridgeART Association, Cambridge, MA; Wustum Museum of Art, Racine, WI; University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL; Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, WI; Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA, and the Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO.

Urban Wilderness: Exploring a Metropolitan Watershed, his book of photographs and stories, was published by the Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago (2008). The Urban Wilderness Project received the Kodak American Greenways Award. In addition, Daniel's work has appeared in Family: a Celebration of Humanity, by William Morrow, Popular Photography, The Photo Review, Phototechniques, Art in Wisconsin, New Mexico Photographer, Orion, and the New York Times.

Artist books, which enable Daniel to integrate design, photography and writing, have become an important part of his practice. Since 2008 he has designed and created nine books. He also maintain blogs called Urban Wilderness and Arts Without Borders.

Daniel recently completed an "exhilarating" year-long artist residency in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley. While his work has long dealt with ecological themes and issues, this project further emphasized social engagement within a diverse community.
More information: www.eddeedaniel.com

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