Brandon Ballengeé (b. 1974) is an environmental educator, biologist, and visual artist working in Arnaudville, Louisiana with his wife, Aurore, at the Atelier de la Nature, a nature reserve and outdoor education center. Ballengeé creates thought-provoking works of art which prompt critical thinking about species loss, climate stewardship, and the responsibilities of humans to our planet.
In his series Frameworks of Absence, Ballengeé presents species which are now extinct, such as the Labrador Duck. As part of his process, Ballengeé removes the image of the extinct animal from an historic print, saving only the silhouette of the creature in the original work. The extracted image is then burned and its ashes placed in an effigy jar, which serves as a memorial for the extinct species. Through this act, Ballengeé directs audiences to reflect upon the animals lost and invites thoughts on species and climate conservation from the viewer.
Ballengeé holds a PhD in trans-disciplinary art and biology from the University of Plymouth and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Museum of Natural Science at Louisiana State University, where he is studying the impact of the 2010 oil spill on fish species in the Gulf of Mexico. He has also served as a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow at the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Ballengeé’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in more than eighteen countries. His art has been featured in several major art publications, including ARTnews and Art in America.
Brandon Ballengeé, RIP Labrador Duck: After John William Hill, 2015. Artist cut & brunt hand-colored stone lithograph, ashes and etched funerary urn, 13 x 18 inches. Purchases with funds donated by Suzanne and Gray Sexton. Louisiana Art & Science Museum Collection, 2019.009.001a-b