South of Iowa City

South of Iowa City, oil on linen, 48" x 60"

In his own words:

I am an artist living and working in Iowa City, Iowa.

Born in Kentucky, raised in Ohio, and currently residing in Iowa, I am very interested in the Midwest -- for both its charm as well as its challenges.

I am particularly interested in the Midwestern landscape, its total transformation through agriculture, and the political, social, and environmental consequences of that change. Some of my paintings also explore the complicated nexus of food, agriculture, nostalgia, and marketing.

I work as the Director of Public Art for the Iowa City Downtown District and teach in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area. During the Summer months I also run a tiny bakery that sells at the Iowa City Farmers' Market.

Thomas Agran's work has evolved since first arriving in Iowa in 2005.  Following time spent farming abroad and three influential years working at Grinnell Heritage Farm, his work has developed considerably from his idyllic renditions of our landscape. Agriculture's impact on this state has created both the rhythms and patterns of the land we have come to love, as well as the alarming environmental, health, and social changes we face in cities and small towns alike.  Agran's recent work attempts to flesh out that relationship through both macro and micro scales.  In the words of landscape architect James S. Corner, "How we represent the land to ourselves affects the ways in which we value and act upon it."  If we are to ever change the trajectory of agriculture towards something more environmentally and socially sustainable, we need to teach ourselves how to really look at the landscape again — how to see through the grid, recognize its implications, understand its permanency, but still retain an appreciation of the view.

Thomas Agran's website

This page was first displayed
on May 18, 2010

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