Name: Anna Segner
Artist Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Describe yourself & the work you do:
I am a third-year graduate student in the Integrated Visual Arts program at Iowa State University. I graduated from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota with degrees in Literature with a Writing Emphasis and Studio Art. Prior to attending graduate school at ISU, I worked full time as a reporter for a newspaper in Owatonna, MN. I currently spend most of my time in the studio painting, and I teach two sections of drawing I at ISU.
My current body of work, Toy (with) Animals, examines the co-option of animals in play as well as language and visual culture through painting, assemblage, and installation. As children play with toys that reference animals, they learn to feel empathy for another species, yet they also displace the animals’ actual context, habitat, agency, and behaviors. Child’s play forms animal perceptions and misconceptions about natural context that is carried through into adulthood. Today, we have more varied and more numerous artificial representations of animals than ever before; in both formal contexts and in play settings, these depictions often perpetuate the divorce from animal realities. It is troubling that as adults, animals are still often treated as toys—put where we want, admired when we are in the mood, ignored when we are fixated on something else, and tossed out when we outgrow them.
While artificial representations are on the rise, ecosystems are disturbed by human impact, and biodiversity is dwindling. Ironically, as we long for a wildness that is less and less present in our daily lives, we replace it artificially in our homes. Fake plants in kitchens, giraffe patterned curtains in our living rooms, safari animal decals in our nurseries, stuffed animals in our bedrooms, and televisions roaring with animal life documentaries all create a false representation of “wild.” Clearly, humans value nature and animals, but humans have lost touch with true experiences of the wilderness. Mixed media approaches are adopted to grapple with the complexity of humans’ artificial approach to replacing the lost wild.
Why do you think the artistic community in Iowa is so important?
Iowa needs more art to make people think, be mindful and gain perspectives.
What do you think is important for our community to do better when it comes to supporting local artists and musicians?
I think Iowa could take some tips from MN as far as funding and opportunities for artists, but Iowa has a lot of people in the arts that make it a vibrant and loving community.
How can our community lift you up and support you?
The arts community in Iowa has welcomed me and offered encouragement. Between studio visits with Iowa artists, lectures at the Des Moines Arts Center, professors at Iowa State University, and colleagues in my MFA program, Iowa has been a supportive home for me. I am so grateful!
Do you have any events coming up?
My MFA exhibition Toy (with) Animals is happening now through April 4 at ISU Design on Main Gallery: 203 Main Street, Ames, IA.
Reception: Friday, March 29, 5 to 8 pm
Tuesday – 2-5pm
Wednesday – 2-5pm
Thursday – 2-7pm
Friday, Saturday & Sunday 2-5pm
Any places we can access or see your work right now?
Beyond my MFA exhibition, you can also see my artwork at the Octagonal: All Media Exhibition at the Octagon Center for the Arts.
Anna’s Instagram: Click Here