2013 Pine Needles artists selected

MARINE ON ST. CROIX — Twin Cities-area artists Bonnie Ploger, Susan Armington, Su Smallen and Jessica Zeglin were selected the St. Croix Watershed Research Station 2013 Artists at Pine Needles, officials with the Science Museum of Minnesota announced Wednesday.

The research station program provides residencies for natural history artists and writers at the station’s Pine Needles cabin and offers interaction with environmental scientists and the local community. The residencies are May through September.

For the first time, the program has accepted a team of two artists for a collaborative residency. Ploger and Armington will work together on ways to connect art, science and creativity through encounters with the natural world. Each will also focus on their own art during the residency.

Ploger, a Hamline University biology professor, is a painter and photographer. Her work at Pine Needles will examine depth at different scales, including crevices in cliffs and cracks in tree bark and burls. Armington has a focus on story-telling and imaginative map-making; she is a recipient of a 2013 Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. She will conduct field work and research for the first phase of her River Maps project focusing on three Minnesota locations, including the St. Croix River around Marine on St. Croix.

Smallen is a poet who intends to begin a new work during her residency, based on the river as a “guiding spirit, image or theme.” Smallen is the author of “Buddha Proof” (Broadcraft Press), a Minnesota Book Award 2012 finalist and “Weight of Life” (Laurle Poetry Collective), nominated for the Pushcart Press Editor’s Book Award. She has won the Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize and the Tupelo Press Poetry Project, and her poems and essays have appeared in many journals, anthologies and chapbooks.

Zeglin is a painter and sculptor who creates wire sculptural replicas of natural objects in the field, and then uses those as the basis for paintings and additional sculptural forms. She intends to forage and gather artistic specimens from the local environment — as small as seed pods, grasses, leaves or stones — and create wire sculptures in the field, leaving the original object in place.

Zeglin had a recent showing at the Coffman Gallery at the University of Minnesota with artist Stephanie Thomson, and is featured in the Solo Exhibition Program at the Altered Esthetics Gallery in Minneapolis for 2013.

The Artist at Pine Needles program is held at the cabin of the late James Taylor Dunn, noted historian of the St. Croix River Valley, and fulfills his wishes that this property be used as a scholarly and artistic retreat. The St. Croix Watershed Research Station in Marine on St. Croix is the environmental research department of the Science Museum of Minnesota.