The Nature of Art
Brandon Ballengée's artistic practice and scientific research share a single purpose—to generate understanding and awareness of endangered species.
About Brandon Ballengée
Brandon Ballengée (American, born 1974) is a visual artist, biologist, and environmental educator based in Louisiana.
Ballengée creates transdisciplinary artworks inspired from his ecological field and laboratory research. Since 1996, a central investigation focus has been the occurrence of developmental deformities and population declines among amphibians. In 2001, he was nominated for membership into Sigma XI, the Scientific Research Society. In 2009, Ballengée and SK Sessions published “Explanation for Missing Limbs in Deformed Amphibians” in the Journal of Experimental Zoology and received international media attention from the BBC and others. This scientific study was the inspiration for the book Malamp: The Occurrence of Deformities in Amphibians (published by Arts Catalyst & Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK) and a solo exhibition at the Royal Institution of Great Britain (London, England: 2010). From 2009 through 2015, he continued his amphibian research as a Visiting Scientist at McGill University (Montréal, Canada) and, in 2011, he was awarded a conservation leadership fellowship from the National Audubon Society’s TogetherGreen Program (USA). In 2014 he received his Ph.D. in Transdisciplinary Art and Biology from Plymouth University (UK) in association with Zürich University of the Arts and Applied Sciences (Switzerland). In 2015, he was the recipient of a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).
Currently, he is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Biological Sciences Department at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), studying the impact on fishes from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. His project, Crude Life Portable Museum: A Citizen Art and Science Investigation of Gulf of Mexico Biodiversity after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, is ongoing thanks to an Interdisciplinary Projects Grant Award from the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI), a project of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
Ballengée’s artwork has previously been exhibited throughout the USA and internationally in more than 20 countries, including Canada, Argentina, England, Germany, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Russia, India, China, South Korea and Australia. In the summer of 2013 the first career survey of Ballengeé’s work debuted at the Château de Chamarande (Essonne, France), and travelled to the Museum Het Domein (Sittard, Netherlands) in 2014. A mid-career retrospective of his work opened in the fall of 2016 at the University of Wyoming Art Museum (Laramie, Wyoming), which will travel to the Rowan University Art Museum (Glassboro, NJ) and the Acadiana Center for the Arts (Lafayette, Louisiana).
His art has been featured in several major US publications, including ARTnews, Art in America, The New York Times, New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Orion, Audubon Magazine, and Sculpture. Internationally, it was also featured in Beaux Arts (France), Greenpeace Magazin (Germany), Liberation (France), L’Oeil (France), The Observer (England), The Guardian (England), Financial Times (England), BBC News (England), D’Ars (Italy), Domenica (Italy), Il Venerdi (Italy), SNACKS (China), The Sunday Guardian: New Delhi (India), and others.
(from artist's website)