“Mia Feuer: Totems of the Anthropocene" at the Figge Art Museum -- September 21 through December 29.

Artist Talk: Thursday, September 19, 6:30 p.m.

Exhibit: Saturday, September 21, through Sunday, December 29

Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second Street, Davenport IA

A fascinating exhibition boasting installation work and even a synthetic indoor ice rink will be on display at the Figge Art Museum from September 21 through December 29 when the Davenport venue houses Mia Feuer: Totems of the Anthropocene, its widely acclaimed creator having enjoyed solo exhibitions worldwide from Washington D.C. to London to Calgary.

Everyone knows petroleum has become essential to our everyday lives from the packaging of the foods we eat to our daily commutes. For better and worse, these products have not only transformed our lives but the landscape in which we live, and Canadian artist Feuer’s Totems of the Anthropocene exhibit envisions what our environment might become after prolonged exposure to petroleum products. Feuer’s interest in petroleum has taken her around the globe, with her experiences deepening her understanding of the consequences of mining petroleum – not only from an environmental perspective, but from social and political ones, as well. Feuer’s unique and challenging sculptures question mankind’s exploitation of our environment, and yet her work is created out of materials that result from that exploitation. Through her use of these materials, the works in this exhibition demonstrate their inescapability.

Visitors to the Totems of the Anthropocene exhibit will encounter this reality in the form of several unique installations and a one-person indoor synthetic ice rink on which visitors will be invited to skate under a swirling vortex of ravens and uprooted trees. The ravens and trees reference the environmental realities facing the Alberta tar sands of Feuer’s Canada and to the decline of winter pond skating, as the ponds on which many Canadians first learn to skate are disappearing as global temperatures continue to rise. The sensation of skating in this desolate landscape hints at the possible future we may all be facing.

Feuer received her BFA from the University of Manitoba in 2004 and her MFA in 2009 from the Department of Sculpture + Extended Media at Virginia Commonwealth University. As the distinguished American University in Cairo professor Graham Harman stated, “Perhaps the greatest appeal of Feuer’s work is its complete lack of cynicism, even in those cases where it is inspired by tear gas, polluted oceans or other dangerous scenarios. The artist’s biography indicates someone who has often been in contact with deep human suffering, yet the resulting art is not shrill or moralistic. Instead, one gets the sense of a balanced observer whose first reaction to disaster is transfiguration rather than the teaching of prosaic lessons.”

An artist talk with Feuer introducing her exhibition and discussing her philosophical approach to art will be held at 6:30 p.m. on September 19, and Mia Feuer: Totems of the Anthropocene will be on display September 21 through December 29. Regular museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays, museum admission is $4-10, and more information is available by calling (563)326-7804 or visiting FiggeArtMuseum.org.

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