Gallery features art of man vs. nature with ‘Rural Hybrids’
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent February 22, 2013 4:56PM
"Random Order Vessel" by Bonnie Zimmer is part of the "Objects of Contemplation: Rural Hybrids" exhibit. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
If you go
Bonnie Zimmer’s exhibit “Objects of Contemplation: Rural Hybrids” remains on display through March 8 at the Gallery for Contemporary Art in the Savannah Center at Indiana University Northwest in Gary.
The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and
from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Friday. For information about parking, go to
Updated: March 25, 2013 6:07AM
Artist Bonnie Zimmer loved growing up Wheatfield and out in the country in Jasper County, and has lived in the country her whole life.
“It really helps me solidify my sense of place and find meaning in my life,” said Zimmer, who now lives in Rensselaer and serves as an associate professor of art and art department chair at St. Joseph’s College.
Nature — and how it collides with mankind — also serves as an inspiration for her work, as she collects everything from found and recycled items to natural materials and turns it into artwork.
Her exhibit “Objects of Contemplation: Rural Hybrids” is on display through March 8 at the Gallery for Contemporary Art in the Savannah Center at Indiana University Northwest in Gary. The 35 works in the exhibit span almost 10 years of her career.
Gallery director Ann Fritz describes Zimmer as an environmental artist. She collects objects that others dispose of and uses them to create sculptures, each piece telling a story of society’s treatment of the environment.
One of the works in the exhibit is “Roadside Totem,” made of natural and found materials Zimmer, who lives on Indiana 231, picked up along the road.
“It’s an apology to the Great Spirit for our throwaway society,” said Zimmer, who added that she taught art in the Hebron schools for 14 years and was known for picking up tires and other items along the road on her way to school.
Zimmer said some of her more recent pieces are angrier, including “The Anti-Shrine to GMOs,” or genetically modified organisms. It includes items made with corn syrup, including pop, and an array of junk food, like sugary cereals.
“It’s all about what we put in our faces. Why do we even eat this stuff? It’s not even food,” she said.
Zimmer often collects items for her artwork when she goes on walks with her husband, Bill, and said her work changes the way people see things, whether it’s rethinking the food they eat or seeing beauty in roadside junk.
“I’m helping people see what’s in front of them,” she said.
Zimmer said she doesn’t like painting or drawing and prefers working with real materials. She also is inspired by Native American basket making, a technique apparent in the piece “Painted Lady,” an orb of woven material colored with red enamel paint.
“I like to say my baskets hold ideas, not things,” she said.