Writing the Bear

Writing the Bear, 2011

Kristen DeGree was raised in North Dakota, giving her a lifelong fascination with agriculture, horizon lines, and extreme weather events. She received a BA in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts from the University of Washington in 2008, and worked at Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York before coming to Iowa in 2010. She has an MA in printmaking from the University of Iowa, and is currently an MFA candidate in the UI Intermedia program. She has completed artist residencies with Elsewhere Artist Collaborative in Greensboro, North Carolina and Cabin-Time at Wilderness State Park, Michigan. She is currently in love with prairie, video art, and language of the future.

Kristen writes this about her art:

"My work focuses on investigating perceptions of culture and nature— understanding our surroundings as constructed in numerous webs of ecology, and how they extend to issues of labor, industry, and food production. How do these spaces intersect? How do we live out these connections?
I am interested in the process of art making as a mode of inquiry, and as a framework for poetic ways of conveying information. My artistic practice is research-based, but also moves across disciplines, including printmaking, video, sound, writing, and social practice, allowing for multiple entry points and ways of seeing."

About Writing the Bear:

"This is a series of walks with friends and alone in the snow making tracks with handmade bear paws from scrap wood and bicycle tubes. According to Johnson County historical records, one of the last known bears in Iowa City was seen in the early 1900s. The bear was seen walking by the Iowa River before being killed with a pitchfork by local townspeople. When we find animal tracks, wandering is given new purpose, making us aware of the space we share with other animals. The impressions the animal leaves behind begin to stand in for the animals themselves, and the bear print becomes the symbol for its presence. The paw prints we make stand in for an animal that no longer takes up space here. When making tracks, one feels the distance in every step and the size of paw compared to hills and branches and sidewalks, finding surfaces that make better tracks, and noting the other nearby prints in contrast to one's own. The walk becomes a kind of dérive, and a chance to write the bear back into our minds."

Kristen DeGree's website

This page was first displayed
on July 31, 2013

Find us on Facebook