Human beings like to make connections. I believe we are mythmakers, storytellers, masters of seeing the similar. My work explores our tendency to find human narratives in nature and science. I examine the ways those connections are successful—and how they often fail.
Most of the connections I draw are between my own personal and political life and the natural world around me. I see the natural world as fraught with fables and allegories of love, trust, and defense mechanisms. I see questions of what we should value about the world around us, about each other, and what it means to be human.
I see my own anxieties and hopes reflected in the collaborations of bees and the midwinter insomnia of bats. I see battles against bigotry in the fight against invasive plant species and in our attempts to understand our ancestors. I see both the value and dangers of anger reflected in a prairie fire.
My work invites viewers to see the world as I do and share in my curiosity and explorations. Just as I invite viewers to reflect on their own surroundings, I also invite them to explore their own ideals and challenge dominant narratives about nature, science, and identity.
Rhea Ewing is a Wisconsin artist and an alumna of UWC-Baraboo/Sauk and UW-Madison. A transplant to the Midwest, Rhea calls Wisconsin “the first place that felt like home” and tries to capture that sense of place in their work. Rhea also calls upon personal and political themes of living with a queer identity in the Midwest, finding spiritual connections to the natural world, and building safe spaces for all people. The value of art, by their reasoning, is the ability to create connections, question assumptions, and inspire others to do the same.
Rhea currently lives and works in Wisconsin, wandering the hills through frost, fall, and flowers in search of cool bugs and interesting rocks.