Texts of Brandon Ballengée

We are in the middle of a mass extinction event, referred to as the Anthropocene or Sixth Great Extinction. Here, many familiar species, like frogs, turtles, butterflies, bumblebees are disappearing…and rapidly. We have lost over forty percent of amphibians and more than half the planet’ overall wildlife since I have been alive. The renowned scientist and environmental philosopher Edward O. Wilson has even described this era as the Eremozoic (eremo coming from the Greek for lonely or bereft) or the "Age of Loneliness".

I am proud to announce the opening of the exhibition Brandon Ballengée: The Age of Loneliness at the Acadiana Center for the Arts last weekend, on view until January 8th, 2022. I have wanted to bring Collapse to Louisiana for nearly a decade.

This large-scale exhibition, curated by Jaik Faulk, showcases 10 years of my work related to the environmental crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, from Collapse (2012) to, for the first time, my most recent series of Crude Oil Paintings (2020-21) and new works related to the ongoing MC20/Taylor oil spill, as well as a selection of works from the series The Frameworks of Absence (2006-Ongoing), my new series VII (2021), and the outdoor light sculpture Love Motel for Insect: Monarch Variation (2021).



International exhibitions

International Archives 2nd half of 2021

Brandon Ballengée, The Age of Loneliness

Acadania Centre for the Arts, Lafayette (United States)

09.10.2021 - 08.01.2022




Collapse, 2010/12. Created in scientific collaboration with Todd Gardner, Jack Rudloe and Peter Warny.

Collapse is a sculptural response to the global crisis for the world’ fisheries and the threat of unraveling the Gulf of Mexico’ food-chain following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The pyramid of 26,162 preserved specimens represents 370 species of fish and other aquatic organisms collected from the Gulf Coast, a region of diverse fish species and of socio-economic importance. This pyramidal installation references the fragile interrelationships between aquatic species in the Gulf food chain. Empty jars represent species in decline or those that have already been lost to extinction. Collapse is a sculptural sketch that represents the Gulf of Mexico food chain starting with smaller life forms working its way up to the top with large predators.

The Framework of Absence, 2006-Ongoing

We are in the middle of a biodiversity crisis, often referred to as the Holocene or Sixth great extinction, Species are disappearing at upwards of a thousand times the natural rate. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of animals have disappeared from the Americas in recent centuries. Such extinctions started when the Europeans first colonized these new lands and have continued until today with recent losses like the Eastern cougar (2013), the Pinta Island Tortoise (2012), The Florida Fairy shrimp (2011) and many others.

Responding to this cataclysm, I physically cut images of missing animals from historic prints and publications printed at the time in history when the depicted species became extinct. For example, in RIP Pied or Labrador Duck: After John James Audubon (1856/2007), the image of the birds was removed from an original 1856 Royal Octavo (hand-colored by one of Audubon’ sons) printed at the same point in history as the actual species disappeared. The resulting image minus the subject is what I refer to as a Framework of Absence.

Acquired over several years, these prints, dating from 1640 to 2014, reflect the long-term and continued decline of biodiversity. The cut animal images are burned and cremation remains are gathered. Participants are then asked to scatter these ashes in memory to species gone. This action is intended as a transformative event for individuals: at once imprinting species loss at a personal level and also importantly an invocation towards a conservation mindset to counter future extinctions.

The Frameworks of Absence is accompanied by The Book of the Dead, a memory book of lost species that is available as a pdf to the public.

Love Motel for Insects, 2001-Ongoing

Love Motel for Insects is an ongoing series of public art installations intended to construct situations between humans and arthropods. The works use ultra-violet lights on enormous sculpted canvases to attract insects and create an opportunity for public interactions with nocturnal arthropods, which are not often seen. At each location, the Love Motels become the backdrop for community events such as; picnics, biodiversity festivals, graffiti jams, political rallies, scientific investigations, musical events and even insect film screenings.

The Love Motels for Insects sculptures began in 2001 in Central America. At this time the initial structures were made from battery powered black lights and bed-sheets placed in the Costa Rican forest floor. Within hours numerous species of flying moths, beetles, caddisflies, ants, lacewings and other arthropods descended on the installation. Female moths released chemical pheromones to attract mates and consequently “ainted”the impromptu piece. Fascinated and inspired by this initial experience, further Love Motels for Insects have been fabricated along with public nocturnal field trips around the world. To date versions of the project have debuted on boats in Venice (Italy), peat bogs in Lough Boora (Ireland), isolated moors overlooking Loch Ness (Scotland), bustling shopping malls in Delhi (India), outside Aztec ruins (Mexico), New Haven (USA) inner-city bus stops, roof tops in London (England), temperate forest mountain-sides (South Korea), Louisiana Bayous (USA) and others.

Exhibition 09 October 2021 - 08 January 2022. Acadiana Center for the Arts - Main Gallery, 101 W Vermilion St. - Lafayette, LA 70501 (USA). T. 1 337 233 7060. Hours : Tues – Sat | 9 AM – 5 PM.







Brandon Ballengée, The Age of Loneliness, Acadania Centre for the Arts, Lafayette.
Photograph courtesy The Current

Brandon Ballengée, The Age of Loneliness, Acadania, Centre for the Arts, Lafayette

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