Fragmented landscapes


Fragmented landscapes
little cultures
weeds

Why did we bring worms from Europe?

Ripped soil
Gathering quickly
Trying to blend in.

The oldest blue oak in Illinois.
Feeling four hundred years?
Layers and layers of thick skin.

Stubborn bastard, growing hay here in corn country.

The creek bed is wet but not flowing.
They are still prairie soils underneath.
The president’s wife blamed the skunk in her basement on it, but all the birds
stop here.

The sylphiums have bent over the trails so you have to push your way through.

Mountains of corn
The only season Illinois has elevation.
How high?

Edges again and edges of edges.

The golden plover
And I
Like puddles

The gravel had run off the edge and mixed with the soil and weeds. I can feel
the train coming through my feet.

By Karen Spiering

wooden box with small comparments of soil
Sculpture
Karen J. Spiering
Deep Places: Central Illinois Fall 2016
Soil and plywood
3.5”x27”x21”

art poster showing where soils in box were found

Mixed Media
Karen J. Spiering
Place Studies in East Central Illinois, 2016
Ink on Paper
30”x42”


Karen J. Spiering is an artist whose life and work revolve around deep place knowing and the pursuit of stronger connections to the land/earth. She grew up in Wyoming and has lived and worked in northern Virginia, eastern Washington and central Illinois. She is finishing a MFA (expected 2017) in Studio Art at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has a BFA in Painting from George Mason University and a BA from Christendom College. Her work is deeply invested in the natural, cultural and local political landscape in every place she lives and she investigates and maps her experiences of these places. Her practice includes walking, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, installation and the written word.

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