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Geometric ingenuity and environmental awareness were the themes for the latest exhibit at the Waldemar A. Schmidt Art gallery at Wartburg College



Geometric ingenuity and environmental awareness were the themes for the latest exhibit at the Waldemar A. Schmidt Art gallery at Wartburg College. Artist Katie Walberg presented “Ludicrous Landscapes,” an innovative depiction of humanity’s impact on nature.

“This is what we’re making, and it represents us,” Walberg said regarding the cityscapes in her artwork. Walberg studied art at the University of Tennessee and worked for her master of arts in sculpture and installation at the Maryland Institute of Art.

Through two-dimensional canvas pieces and three-dimensional installations, “Ludicrous Landscapes” presented one, universal message: the creation of man has depleted nature of its resources. Through depiction of different methods of pollution, the message is clear.

“I want it to affect [my audience] in a way that it might remind them of something they’ve seen in an actual environment, that it might provoke a questioning of why things are the way they are,” Walberg said.

To create her artwork, Walberg used Bombay India ink and Copic markers to blend. For the three-dimensional pieces, she used skills she acquired when she studied carpentry. Her installations contain a multitude of angles and intricate layers and provided a madness that required a type of method.

Inspiration for Walberg came from her daily environment. She was influenced not as much by the work of other painters and sculptors but by architects and city planners. She added a hint of chaos to the artificial landscape that many of us call home, which made it seem abnormal. It was, according to Walberg, a sort of satire.

“I was basically confronted with living in a new environment and being really overwhelmed with how to navigate it – it was a way more populated area,” Walberg said. “It was a lot of looking at how these areas are constructed and how they interact with the natural environment.”


Many of Walberg’s pieces depicted humanity’s creations that suck the resources from nature through tubes and pipes – what she called the roots of our man-made environment.

One art piece, “Erode,” showed how large developmental projects uprooted sediment that was harmful to water sources. “…they’re literally tearing the topsoil away, and they don’t replace it. In fact, it happens in huge developments,” Walberg said.

“What happens when you do that is you’re taking away the sponge that sits on the top of the soil that absorbs the rainwater and utilizes it. Because it’s no longer there, the dirt will erode away, and we have a lot of erosion going into local waterways, which is actually weirdly the biggest pollutant in the waterways: dirt.”

“Ludicrous Landscapes” is on display until Feb. 6. For more information, contact the Art Gallery Director and Exhibit Manager Johanna Kramer-Weston at

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