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ISU professor/artist to exhibit work at Arts Center in September

ISU professor/artist to exhibit work at Arts Center in September
“Human Gaze” by artist Anna Segner is one of her many works that will be on display throughout September at the Charles City Arts Center. The exhibit seeks to explore the relationship between toy animals and their real-life counterparts. A free public reception for the artist will be held 5-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, at the Arts Center, sponsored by Tellurian Brewing. Submitted photo
To The Press

The Charles City Arts Center will host an opening reception Friday, Sept. 1, for Iowa State University faculty member and artist Anna Segner, the Arts Center’s featured Artist of the Month for September.

The exhibit is titled “Toy (with) Animals,” and Segner said it seeks to expose the contrasting relationship that occurs between real animals and their toy counterparts.

Segner’s acrylic and mixed media paintings aim their sights on the “materialism that surrounds our consumption of toys,” specifically plastic and stuffed animals, and how the production of those toys may harm the real life animals they are made to resemble.

“Today, the popularity of animal-based toys swells, suggesting a society-wide admiration of animals misplaced in consumerism, and the toy industry responds to meet the demand,” Segner said. “However, the industry contributes to the degradation of the environment, disruption of ecosystems, and shrinking biodiversity.

“Within children’s bountiful piles of colorful plastic and polyester is nostalgia for a wilderness now scarce. In addition to the destruction, the toy industry does little to educate children about animal context, agency and anatomy,” she said.

Segner’s art assembles these conflicts together in various “toy-scenes” intended to start conversations about the work and the issue itself.

“For example, my painting ‘Watering Hole III’ depicts a toy scene that could never occur in nature – predator and prey, as well as extinct animals coexisting in harmony around a watering hole, aka the sink. These works mourn the fading natural existence of animals and examine materialism’s role in decontextualization of the animal,” Segner said.

A Minnesota native, Segner received her BA from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and then her MFA from Iowa State. She has exhibited extensively throughout Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin over the last five years.

The Charles City Arts Center is excited to show her work locally, according to Assistant Director Karl Haglund.

“The work that Anna creates is very thought-provoking beyond the individual paintings themselves, but more so in the greater context of her body of work,” Haaglund said. “It gets us excited about the exhibit opening and the conversations that are sure to be had.”

The opening reception tonight will be sponsored by Tellurian Brewing and will run from 5 to 7 p.m. The reception and exhibit is free and open to the public.

The Charles City Arts Center is located at 301 N. Jackson Street, across from Central Park. For more information it can be reached at 641-228-6284 or by emailing


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