Barbara Westfall

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Barbara Westfall, Assistant Professor of ARt

Assistant Professor of Art

Contact   

Office: 106 Art Building
E-mail: westfallb@uwplatt.edu
Tel: 608-342-1640
Web: www.barbarawestfall.com

Biography

Barbara Westfall is an artist, curator and assistant professor of art at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville specializing in creating and examining works of art that weave the connections between people, art and natural environment. Trained in installation and sculpture, she earned a BFA and MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Barbara makes her artwork from transforming natural fiber, plants, vine, trees and entire ecosystems into contemporary art forms. She has organized symposiums on Ecological Art for the Society of Ecological Restoration.  In 1993, Barbara was recognized by preeminent philosopher of Ecological Restoration, William Jordan III, as the first artist to develop artwork with University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum staff to […] “explicitly interlace the routine acts of restoration ecology into a visual and performance art, a project resulting in a ritual and an occasion for beauty.” (Jordan, 172)  Barbara’s work is often described as Ecological Art because she frequently points out and/or offers solutions to ecological problems, such as loss of species habitat or global warming. Emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Donald E. Thompson, who is a specialist in ethno-history, art and iconography, writes about Barbara’s groundbreaking collaboration at the UW Arboretum as giving […] “dignity to trees” and describes the unifying theme […] “being the relationship between people and nature. This project carries the concepts of ecology and art to the coming generation, an essential undertaking if the message of ecological art is to have a lasting effect.” (Thompson, 34).

Her interdisciplinary approach to integrating art, education, and ecology have provided her with the opportunity to work with a diverse population of professionally active faculty, scholars, artists, city, county and government organizations including the U.S. Parks Departments, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Arboretum, Art Department and Department of Forest Ecology, University of California-Irvine, University of Washington-Seattle, University of Waterloo-Ontario Canada, Dane County Parks, Overture Center for the Arts, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison College, Edgewood College, and the Madison Metropolitan School District.  At the invitation of The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art in 1993, Barbara was a guest artist for the exhibition, Fragile Ecologies: Artists’ Interpretations and Solutions, organized by the Queens Museum of Art in New York, developed by the Smithsonian Institute, curator Dr. Barbara C. Matilsky.

William Jordan III, The Sunflower Forest Ecological Restoration and the New Communion With Nature (Univ. of Calif. Press, 2003) Donald E. Thompson, Wisconsin Academy Review, Journal of Wisconsin Culture, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters (University Wisconsin Madison Publications, Summer 1994, Vol 40, Number 3)

EDUCATION

University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI
1990 - 1993 M.F.A. Sculpture and Installation
University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI
1986 - 1989 B.F.A. Fine Arts
Mission Renaissance School of Art – Los Angeles, CA
Summer 1984 and 1985

SELECT EXHIBITIONS AND INSTALLATIONS:

2013  Group Exhibition: The Faculty Show
Performing Art Center Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Group Exhibition: The Exquisite Uterus: Gender, Art and Resistance Exhibition
Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL.

2012  Group Exhibition: Power, Politics and Performance, 36th Annual Women’s Studies Conference
Steinhilber Art Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, WI.

Group Exhibition: Compendium, UW Madison Faculty Art Exhibit
Created work for group exhibit Ossuary, curated by L.B. Clark, Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, WI

2011 Group Exhibition: The Fourth Show
Von Liebig Art Center, Naples, FL

Group Exhibition: Pro Bowl Benefit - Habitat for Humanity
Created work for donation to Souper Bowl Benefit Habitat for Humanity, West High, Madison, WI

2010   Solo exhibition: FLOW: The Web of Interconnections
Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, WI. Collaborative installation with Beth Racette.

Solo exhibition: Still Wandering.
Absolutely Art Gallery, Madison, WI.

2009 Group Exhibition: Adamah Gallery Ceramic Retrospective
Created work for donation to Adamah Ceramics Studio Annual Benefit, Dodgeville, WI

2007 Solo visual art and musical production: The Re-enchantment of Art and Agriculture
Free Thinkers Hall, Sauk Prairie, WI

2006 Collaborative Installation with students: The Teaching Lodge
Wingra School, Madison, WI

2005 Group Exhibition: Deep Fried Conundrums
Commonwealth Gallery, Madison, WI

2004 Solo installation: Transect
Atwood Community Gardens, Madison, WI

2003 Group Exhibition: Making Art Matter, Artists Transforming Society
Commonwealth Gallery, Madison, WI

1999 Barbara Westfall: Boundary Water Sculptures
Boundary Water Canoe Area National Park, Minnesota

1996 Barbara Westfall: The Longest Shadows of the Year
Gathering Places Sculpture Garden, Mt. Horeb, WI 

1995 Barbara Westfall: The Art of Restoration
University of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Barbara Westfall: Nature and Culture
Porter Butts Gallery, UW-Madison, WI

1994 Group Exhibition: FRAGILE ECOLOGIES, Ourselves, Our Land, Our Community
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI

Barbara Westfall and Renee Miller: Those Who Came Before
Wisconsin Parks Department, Governor Dodge State Park, Dodgeville, WI

Barbara Westfall: The Art of Restoration
University of Irvine, Irvine, California

1993 MFA Thesis Exhibition
7th Floor Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Barbara Westfall: Gathering Places
Gathering Places Sculpture Gardens, Mt. Horeb, WI

Group Exhibition: STICKS, Media and Metaphor
Wausau Center for the Arts, Wausau, WI

Group Exhibition: Portrait of Woman as Artist
Women’s Experimental Theater Collective, Milwaukee, WI

1992 Group Exhibition: Four for Nature
University of Waterloo. Ontario, Canada

Barbara Westfall: Daylighting the Woods site specific installation
University of Wisconsin – Madison, Arboretum, Madison, WI

Barbara Westfall: Photographic highlights from Daylighting the Woods
Sunporch Gallery and Café, Madison, WI

1991 Group Exhibition: Art Against War, 7th Fl. Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Madison

1990  Group Exhibition: B.F.A. Show 7th Floor Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Madison

RELATED EXPERIENCE / PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:

2013 ACT-31 Art Education Conference, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, April, 2013

2012 Midwest Culturally Inclusive Conference, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, September 2012
Diversity Forum University of Wisconsin-Madison, September 26, 2012
Encounters with Nature and Art, Token Creek Art and Music Festival, August, 2012
Teaching and Learning Symposium, University of Wisconsin-Madison, May, 2012

2011 National Art Education Association Conference, Eau Claire, Wisconsin October 2011.
Midwest Culturally Inclusive Conference, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, September 2011
Curator, Art on the Fence Project, Madison, WI
Exhibition: How Do I Help? Art Education in Community, Wingra School, May 2010
Guest Art Educator, Madison College, Inter-school Cultural Exchange
Fair Trade Art event to promote cross-cultural learning at Wingra and Leopold schools.

2010 Gallery Talk, Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, WI
Exhibition: Flow: The Web of Interconnection
Organizer, Progressive Education Network Regional Conference, Madison, WI
Sessions: Progressive Education and Art, hosted at Wingra School, 2010
Gallery Talk, Absolutely Art Gallery, Still Wandering, Oct, 15th, Madison, WI
Curator, Overture Center for the Arts, Playhouse Gallery, Madison, WI
Exhibition: Weaving Our Voices, student artwork from Wingra School 

2009 Presenter, Progressive Education National Conference, Washington D.C. 
Topic: Progressive Trends in Art, Music and Library Tech.
Guest Art Educator, Shabazz High School, Madison, WI
Coming of Age, an interdisciplinary art education project.
Adamah Ceramic Studio, completed coursework with Tom Philabaum, Dodgeville, WI
Guest Art Educator, Madison College (MATC), Inter-school Cultural Exchange
Wingra and Leopold School Earth Day art education event to promote cross cultural experiences
Participant, Independent Schools Association Conference, Chicago, IL
ISACS Diversity Summit. Art education training.
Curator, Overture Center for the Arts, Playhouse Gallery, Madison, WI
Exhibition: Thinking Inside and Outside the Box, art education project from Wingra School 
Guest Curator, Celebrating Youth!, Monona Terrace Convention Ctr. Madison, WI
6th Annual Art Exhibit, Citywide art exhibit showcasing positive youth development. Jan 2009
Art Assistant, Adamah Ceramics Studio, Communing With Clay, Dodgeville, WI 

2008 Adamah Ceramic Studio, completed coursework with David Dahlquist, Dodgeville, WI
Guest Art Educator, Madison College (MATC), Inter-school Cultural Exchange
Wingra and Leopold Schools Day of the Dead art education event to promote cross cultural learning.
Curator, Exhibit: Inspirations from the Prairie, McKay Center UW-Arboretum, Madison, WI
Guest Curator, Celebrating Youth!, Monona Terrace Convention Ctr. Madison, WI
5th Annual Art Exhibit, City wide art exhibit showcasing positive youth development, Jan 2008.
Guest Art Educator, Shabazz High School, Madison, WI
Coming of Age, an interdisciplinary art education project

2007 Guest Artist, Re-Enchantment of Art, Sauk City, WI
Guest Curator, Celebrating Youth!, Monona Terrace Convention Ctr. Madison, WI
Participant, Progressive Education National Conference, San Francisco, CA
Adamah Ceramic Studio, Wisconsin Woodfire completed coursework with David Smith

2006 Guest Speaker, Edgewood College, Madison, WI,
Topic: Contemporary Ecological Art
Curator, Celebrating Youth!, Monona Terrace Convention Ctr. Madison, WI

2005 Attendee, National Association of Multicultural Education Conf, Kansas City, MO
Curator, Celebrating Youth! Art Exhibition Monona Terrace Convention Ctr. Madison, WI

2004 Guest Speaker, Edgewood College, Madison, WI
Topic: Contemporary Ecological Art

2003 Artist in Residence, MADCAP, Madison, WI
Guest Speaker, Madison Public Library Parents Place, Mt. Horeb, WI
Topic: Visual Art, Education and Your Child

2002 Guest Speaker, Edgewood College, Madison, WI
Topic: Contemporary Ecological Art
Guest Speaker, Chazen Museum of Art Madison, WI
Topic: Artist’s Voices: Taking Yourself Seriously As an Artist

2001 Guest Speaker, Chazen Museum of Art Madison, WI
Topic: Artist’s Voices: Social Transformation in the Arts

2000  Panel Presenter, Upper Midwest Organic Growers Conference, Sinsinawa, IA
Topic: Art and Cultural Restoration.

1999 Juror, Meyer Grove Art Project, Water Street Gallery, Sauk Prairie, WI

1998 Installation assistant for visiting artist Patrick Dougherty, University of WI-Madison
Six of One, a large scale construct of willow branch entanglements installed on Bascom Hill.

1997  Panelist, Midwest Environmental Education Conference, Madison, WI
Monona Terrace Convention Ctr., Topic: The Artist’s Philosophy of Place.

1996 Guest Artist, Neighborhood House, Summer Youth Camp, Madison, WI
Guest Artist, Dane County Shelter Home, Madison, WI

1995 Panelist and Event Organization, Society for Ecological Restoration Int’l Conference, Seattle, WA
Developed 3 day Session on: Art, Education and Ecological Restoration
Panel: Contemporary Ecological Art.

1994 Guest Artist, Gallery Talk, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI
Exhibition: Fragile Ecologies, Artists Interpretations and Solutions
Guest Artist, UW Madison-Arboretum, Madison, WI
In conjunction with Fragile Ecologies: Artists Interpretation and Solutions
Guest Artist, Centro Hispano, Madison, WI
Art education project with urban youth for Fragile Ecologies Exhibition
Guest Artist, WI Parks Department, Governor Dodge State Park, Dodgeville, WI
Commission by Friends of Military Ridge Bike Trail

1993 Panelist and Event Organization, Society for Ecological Restoration Int’l Conference, Irvine, CA
Developed 3-day session on: Art and Ecological Restoration
Panel: The Politics of Art in Ecological Restoration
Guest Artist and Gallery Talk, UW Madison-Arboretum, Madison, WI
Exhibition: Daylighting the Woods

1992  Curator and Event Organization, Society for Ecological Restoration Int’l Conf., Ontario, Canada
  Exhibition: Art and Ecological Restoration

1987     Installation assistant to visiting artist Betsy Damon 
In Memory of Clean Water, 250-foot cast of Utah dry streambed. UW-Madison Memorial Union Gallery

1984/6 Board member, Pasadena Art Council, Pasadena, California

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

2012     The Daily Pioneer, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
2011     The Daily Pioneer, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
2010  Isthmus Daily Page, Flow: Web of Interconnections, Wed. Aug. 18, 2010
UW Madison, Department, Barbara Westfall (MFA '93) at the Overture Center for the Arts,
Current Events, July 2010
Overture Center for the Arts, Events Online, FLOW: A Web of Interconnection July 2010
Play in the Mud Studio Summer Brochure, Building Willow Houses, Summer 2010
2007  Brava Magazine, Ann Stanke, Art Scene: Brava Spotlight Shines On Barbara Westfall,
Feb 2007, Vol 6, No. 02
Wingra School, The End of the Week, Erica Colmenares, The Art of Toast, 9/18/07
The Eagle, Donna Stehling, Farmers Meet to Discuss the Culture of Agriculture, Oct 24
2003 The Sunflower Forest, William Jordan III, Sacrifice and Celebration, Restoration as a performing art,
University of California Press, June 2003, Chapter 7, Pg. 172-174.
Isthmus, Insights from the Arboretum, William Jordan III, Vol. 28, No. 26, June 27, 2003
The Green Museum Online, Don Krug, Teaching Art in the Context of Everyday Life,  www.greenmuseum.org
1998 Restoration and Management Notes, Lisa Meekison and Eric Higgs, The Rights of Spring,
Vol. 16, No. 1, Summer 1998
1994 Wisconsin Academy Review, Donald E.Thompson, The Artist and the Environment: Expanding Upon Fragile Ecologies, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, Summer 1994, Vol 40, No 3
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Visitor’s Guide, A Special Place, Summer 94
Madison Art Center Reception Guide, Our Selves, Our Land, Our Community, Jan. 27
1993 Madison Magazine, Cindy Simmons, Environmental Art with a Message, June, 1993
Madison Art Center, Program Guide, Fragile Ecologies: Artists Interpretations and Solutions
Dec. 1993 through Jan 30, 1994
Madison Art Center Education Guide, Gallery Talks and UrbanArts Outreach, Dec 93-Jan 94
Wisconsin State Journal, Susan Blocker, Unique Exhibit Connects People with Nature,
Dec. 12, 1993
1992  The Capital Times, Mike Ivey, Artist’s imagination, work, lend beauty to trees’ death. May 13, 1992
The Capital Times, Daylighting the Woods, Fri, Aug. 7, 1992
The Capital Times, Kevin Lynch, 2 Art installations open doors to future, Aug. 13, 1992
UW Madison Arboretum News Leaf, Martha McCann Shannon, Ecological art, Vol VI, No. 4, April 92
1991 The Daily Cardinal, Mark Beemer, Staging War, Feb 7, 1991
1989  UW Madison Wisconsin Week: Jeff Oien, Earth’s elements shape sculpture, Dec. 1, 1989

SELECT PROFESSIONAL HONORS

2013        Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, Research Education for Teachers (RET) Residency, July 2013
   Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement Grant (PACCE), University of Wisconsin-Platteville
     -Art Research: Art, Engineering, English and School of Ed’s children’s book project on Infrastructure.
   Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement Grant (PACCE), University of Wisconsin-Platteville
      -Art Research: iPads for Art Education
2012        Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement Grant (PACCE), University of Wisconsin-Platteville
      -Art Research: ACT 31 Art Ed for Curriculum on Wisconsin Native American bands and tribes.
2010 Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission, Madison, Wisconsin
Madison Arts Commission, City of Madison, Wisconsin
1995 Friends of Military Ridge, Stipend Guest Artist
1993  Madison CitiArts Grant, City of Madison, Wisconsin award for Fragile Ecologies
Vilas Associates Award – The Graduate School, University of Wisconsin - Madison
1992  Madison Arts Grant, City of Madison, Wisconsin
Vilas Associates Award - The Graduate School, University of Wisconsin - Madison
1991  Paulette Chandler Award for the Arts - Undergraduate School, University of WI, Madison
1990  Wisconsin Arts and Antiques Scholarship

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