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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Weekly Post, "My NEA Funded Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

My NEA Funded Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



In 1988, I was awarded an Artist-in-Residency at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Wisconsin Arts Board. This was a small body of work created over three years, and eventually exhibited once at the university. Some images have been printed, but most have never been seen. I hope you enjoy these photographs. I think they are among some of the most beautiful I have ever taken.  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum




Thursday, December 13, 2018

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #7:
Wisconsin #7:  The location of this field station puts us in a topographical feature know as the Kettle Moraine. The Kettle Moraine covers a good deal of the state of Wisconsin, and was created by the last glacial retreat. As the glaciers melted back, glacial rock debris was left, covering unmelted ice beneath. That ice eventually melted as well, but more slowly, and at different rates in different areas, creating a “pothole” landscape. Those potholes can be as small as ponds or lake-sized, and most connect to one another through a myriad of streams. Near the field station, where I am “in-residence” as an artist, there is a large kettle lake that attracts a lot of wildfowl. It is not on the property of the field station, but streams feeding into it, do cross our acreage, representing one more distinct feature of this habitat. Least used and visited, this part of the property is “running wild,” and I find it riotously beautiful.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #6:
Wisconsin #6:  92 diverse acres is a lot of room to wander, but it is also a small enough area to visit all parts of it several times a day. My time is spent in early morning walk-arounds, some food, then students arrive. If I can make use of midday, I go for another walk, and generally I am always out at dusk until it grows dark. The early morning and late evening light are clearly part of the show I am supposed to take in. The angle of the sun not only sets off fall colors, it articulates individual grass strands, and it puts rainbow prisms in the early morning frosts. Those hours are also times that seem most windless. Early mornings before sunrise are often dead-still and bedecked with icy crystal designs, that quickly disappear as the sun warms and the breeze picks up.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #5:
Wisconsin#5:  The daily weather at the field station is generally dramatic, but it makes my picture taking difficult because it offers up extreme lighting conditions AND a lot of wind turbulence that really whips the grasses about. On many days, it becomes dangerous to be in the grass savannah because of exposure to lightening. As a practical matter, I become very good at protecting myself from wind chill, and shielding my tripod-mounted camera from wind gusts that might shake it, or knock it over. I also discover using some ski gear is useful if I expect to walk in the waist-deep vegetation. As a cross-country skier, I always wear snow gaiters to keep my boots dry, and to prevent snow from getting in at the ankle. Here in the native grasslands of Wisconsin, using those same gaiters also keeps my shoes dry, but more importantly it keeps insects out of my pants legs, and a gazillion burs and thistles out of my socks.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Thursday, November 22, 2018

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #4:
Wisconsin#4:  Although there are many interesting, and sometimes curious, things going on in the various farm buildings of the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha biological field station, the real show is outside. The 92-acres of the farm hosts a very diverse landscape, from domesticated plantings (above), to native prairie restoration areas dotted by massive oaks, and meandering streams of the Kettle Moraine, where a plethora of grasses and vegetation are supported by the watercourse. The student-maintained garden above grows vegetables, as well as serving to raise specific seed species for the native grass restoration. You will probably note that many of these pictures are early in the morning or late in the day. That is not just because the light is great, it is also because this is the open prairie of the Midwest, and as the day passes, the weather and the winds build and churn the skies, putting everything on the ground into motion, especially the gasses.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #3:
Wisconsin#3:  The farm/field station that Marlin Johnson cares for on behalf of the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, is a cluster of buildings. Besides the house, there is a large barn, a grain silo, a sizable chicken coop, some mechanical sheds, a big kiln, and a large greenhouse. I will learn that there are always things going on at the property, and especially in the greenhouse. The students propagate seeds here; the harvested crops store here; many of the dried specimens are also displayed here. On this particular fall day, it is cold and windy outside, but the greenhouse quite cozy. I could not help but take this picture of harvested pumpkins sunning themselves. Soon they will have spooky faces, and we will all be eating pumpkin pie!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #2:
Wisconsin#2:  Other projects upon which I am working involve some sizable landscapes with greatly varied terrain. I am interested in the idea of this Artist-in-Residence in Wisconsin, but I am unsure if on such a small property, there is enough variety of view to make the work interesting and worth their while. I tell Marlin Johnson, the field biologist from the University of Wisconsin that has contacted me, that I like the idea but I won’t commit until I can visit and see what is involved. That is easy enough to do as I am regularly flying to Cleveland-Akron (OH) to work on my commission to photograph the Cuyahoga River valley, so the next time I visit Ohio, I fly to Wisconsin as well. Marlin greets me at the airport, and we take a pleasant drive through some very rural country sporting lots of cows, and farms with big garden patches. Eventually the terrain takes on a very unique look - more rock outcrops, and streams, ponds, and birds appear everywhere. We have arrived in the Kettle Moraine, and will soon be at the farm/field station. The house proposed as my accommodations, is quite comfortable, and VERY country. Marlin’s “biology” is everywhere. There are text books scattered throughout the house. There are many agricultural magazines, and in various rooms with available sunlit windows, Marlin and his students have strung up for drying, many of the grasses, herbs, and flowers with which they are working. I am told it is a “specimen collection.” How about the “bachelor” kitchen shelf - peanut butter, canned tuna, and beans -LOL. (We actually ate much better than that.)
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd

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Thursday, November 1, 2018

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #1:
Wisconsin#1:  By 1988, my Aperture book, The Hudson River and the Highlands, has been published and is a critical success. The related exhibit travels, and also attracts attention. I am in the middle of a project in Alaska involving the Tongass rainforest, and I have also been commissioned by the Akron Art Museum in Ohio, and the National Park Service, to photograph the Cuyahoga River valley which connects Cleveland to Akron. In the midst of all this, another offer appears. I am contacted by Marlin Johnson, a field biologist teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. He is leading a unusual project in a very unique habitat, and he wonders if I would have interest in photographing what he and his students are doing, and the area. His classes are held off-campus at a field station in the Kettle Moraine, and there they are trying to reconstitute the ecology of a native prairie. The property originally was a private 92-acre farm, owned by Gertrude Sherman, who donated it to the university to be used and maintained as a field station and preserve for educational use. The complex is quite nice, consisting of a big barn, a grain silo, a large chicken coop, several “machine” sheds, a large, wood-fired kiln, and a nice, comfortable farmhouse. Marlin lives on the property, and I would stay there, when visiting.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd

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