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Fragile Ecology Highlights Artist's Work

The vulnerability of Earth's biodiversity is a theme that runs through the work of artist Alice Hargrave. 

The Chicagoan says that as a city girl she has always been looking for a bit of nature, wherever she could find it. Now nature—and its fragility—plays a prominent role in her work, currently on view at the University Galleries in Uptown Normal.

"Paradise Wavering" features 17 new and recent works by Hargrave. The title is inspired by the real threat to the planet's ecology, where nature is unstable and wavering on the brink of elimination.

"Paradise Wavering" runs through Oct. 8 at the University Galleries.

"The newest work is the threatened bird species," explained Hargrave. "It's called the Pink Noise Project, and I wanted to do portraits of the most threatened birds of North America using sound waves of their own voices."

Although the show features sound, Hargrave is most known for her works in the photographic medium. After going into nature to gather images, Hargrave goes to her studio.

"I've always worked quite liberally with color and light. I work very intuitively with color. When I add color, it often comes from memory and how do we remember certain images. So often the time lapse between the time I take the picture and (when) I make the picture is what informs the final outcome, which could be a totally straightforward photograph as captured or totally different. I love the printing process. I may add magenta or yellow or green."

"I do hope people become more aware of the vulnerability of our natural lands. I also hope that it inspires people to go out and enjoy them and participate and protect and raise their voices."

"Paradise Wavering" continues through Oct. 8 at the University Galleries and features a variety of additional programming for the community.

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Reporter, content producer and former All Things Considered host, Laura Kennedy is a native of the Midwest who occasionally affects an English accent just for the heck of it. Related to two U.S. presidents, Kennedy appalled her family by going into show business.