Not since the early nineteenth century, when George Catlin and Karl Bodmer thoroughly sketched the area, have the rough-textured Loess Hills of western Iowa been artistically interpreted with any intensity. Now, inspired by this rugged landscape of steep-sided ridges and bluffs, Land of the Fragile Giants offers a collaboration of contemporary artists, scientists, and humanists all creating their interpretations of today's Hills. Looking at the natural and the human features of the renowned Hills, personal essays blend with works of art to create a verbal and visual panorama of the Loess Hills and a multidimensional view of a region that makes a deep impression on each visitor.
Working closely with Iowa State University's Brunnier Art Museum, twenty-seven professional artists from Iowa and the Midwest visited the Loess Hills at various times throughout 1993 to gather insight for their projects. The result: a dramatic exhibition of paintings, sculpture, prints, and photographs that beautifully complement this volume's literary works. The twelve essayists also have strong ties to the Loess Hills. Each author has spent a significant portion of her or his life in the Hills. The scientists reinterpret their research within the framework of their experience; the humanists provide background and context for the scientists; the artists illuminate the whole.
The art and essays in Land of Fragile Giants bring a meeting of broadly diverse minds and talents to an appreciation of the multitude beauties of Iowa's premier natural area. This striking and colorful volume will appeal to all those captivated by the Loess Hills and all general readers with interdisciplinary interests.
“A book that promises new ways of seeing a familiar Midlands landscape…The editors invited 13 writers—a poet, a research geologist, an anthropologist, a farmer, botanist, and historians—to submit essays sharing not just their scientific knowledge about the Loess Hills, but telling about their personal connections to the landforms.”—Omaha World-Herald