Valerie Eickmeier Studio Artist
Biography Valerie Eickmeier is a studio artist and a Professor of Fine Arts at the Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture from Washington University in St. Louis in 1982 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1979.
Eickmeier has served many roles throughout her career. She taught sculpture for 18 years and served as the faculty president, Division Coordinator of Fine Arts and Associate Dean. After a series of promotions through the academic ranks, Eickmeier was named Herron’s dean in 1998. During her 20-year tenure as dean, she led the charge to raise more than $42 million for her school, which went to fund two new buildings for the school, endowed faculty chairs and student scholarships among other initiatives.
Eickmeier has a productive and successful career, which encompasses more than 35 years of visiting artist lectures, private and corporate commissions, and more than 50 gallery and museum exhibitions. She is the recipient of many awards including two National Endowment for the Arts Special Project Grants, two Creative Renewal Grants from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and five research grants awarded through Indiana University. In 2005, Eickmeier was identified by Dialogue Magazine as one of the Midwest’s “Top 25 Most Influential People in the Arts.”
Artist Statement / Research Overview
Reoccurring themes that continue to be prevalent in my practice include the study of environment, landscape, water and human impact on nature. I have always had a personal interest or connectedness with water, physical and metaphorical journeys, and how places and environments have been depicted on maps. My research and creative activity during the past few years has focused on ways to incorporate navigation concepts into visual expressions of time and place. My paintings, prints, and woodcut reliefs are imbedded with references to geographical places and relay information about the environment and global concerns. These are personal responses to travel experiences, observation and environmental research. I also collect data and images from NASA Scientific Visualization Studio, NASA Earth Observatory, the Army Corps of Engineers, and National Geographic to help inform my artwork.
Evidence has shown that natural and anthropogenic environmental change is rapidly impacting climates. Projections of global warming suggest the largest temperature increases by the end of the century will take place in the highest latitudes, particularly in the Arctic and consequently impacting sea levels globally. This has sparked a desire in me to focus my artwork on environmental conditions that bring forth a connectivity between disparate geographical locations to highlight global concerns.
I am currently expanding my research and studio practice by exploring aspects of cartography to relay information about specific locations and environments and how they are impacted by climate change. My particular focus is on how climate change is melting glaciers and icefields at an unprecedented pace and consequently the sea level is rising globally. I have become acutely aware of how global warming is reducing fresh water supply on all continents, creating dead zones in large river deltas, and is actually changing ocean currents, coastlines, marshes and wetlands. Throughout the world, nature has been manipulated for consumption which has been proven to be detrimental to the long-term health of our planet. Now, it is essential for all who have a voice to express concern and to speak up in whatever medium possible. Through the creation of paintings, woodcuts and prints, I want to promote awareness and contribute to the dialogue surrounding environmental responsibility and effects of climate change.