Henry Matthiessen III's "Sky on Fire" in "Driftless Art: Cail Chavenelle, Jenna Lueck, & Henry Matthiessen III" at the University of Dubuque -- through November 25.

Exhibit: Through Friday, November 25

Reception: Saturday, November 5, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

University of Dubuque's Bisignano Art Gallery, 2255 Bennett Street, Dubuque IA

A stunning landscape of some 24,000 square miles covering large swaths of northeast Iowa, southwest Wisconsin, and southeast Minnesota is being celebrated though visual art through November 25, with the University of Dubuque's Bisignano Gallery currently hosting photographs, paintings, and sculpture in its latest exhibition Driftless Art: Gail Chavenelle, Jenna Lueck, & Henry Matthiessen III.

Never covered by ice during the last ice age, the Driftless Area lacks the characteristic glacial deposits known as drift. Its landscape characterized by steep hills, forested ridges, deeply carved river valleys, and karst geology with spring-fed waterfalls and cold-water trout streams. Ecologically, the Driftless Area's flora and fauna are more closely related to those of the Great Lakes region and New England than those of the broader Midwest and central Plains regions. The steep riverine landscape of both the Driftless Area proper and the surrounding Driftless-like region are the result of early glacial advances that forced pre-glacial rivers that flowed into the Great Lakes southward, causing them to carve a gorge across bedrock cuestas, and thereby forming the modern incised upper Mississippi River valley.

There are very few natural lakes in the region, with the ones there found in adjoining areas of glacial till, drift and in moraines; the region is extraordinarily well drained, and there is rarely a place where even a pond can naturally form. There are also very few dams in that the valley walls and floors are very often fissured or crumbly, or very porous, providing very poor anchors for a dam or making it difficult to keep any kind of reservoir appropriately filled. There are no real waterfalls, but some very strong springs bear the name. A modern, man-made characteristic, meanwhile, is the comparatively twisty nature of highways in the region, such as in Kentucky, in contrast to the usually rigid east-west/north-south alignment elsewhere in the Midwest. Here, the roads switchback up stream valleys or travel over ridge tops.

“The Driftless Region is an oasis of lush topography," said Alan Garfield, director of the Bisignano Gallery. "We think this show is as well. The content in these images in the gallery immediately hits a nerve. Those trees, that rolling plain, this sunset – it’s so familiar. That is, it really is this part of the Driftless area. For me, that’s what pulls me in initially. But the form is equally intriguing with Chavenelle’s whimsical naturalism, Lueck’s saturation of color, and Matthiessen’s magical realism."

A reception for Driftless Art: Gail Chavenelle, Jenna Lueck, & Henry Matthiessen III will be held at the University of Dubuque's Bisignano Gallery on November 5 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and the exhibit itself is on display through November 25. Regular gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, admission is free, and more information is available by calling (563)589-3267 and visiting DArt.dbq.edu/gallery.

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