Published: April 7, 2022 By

Banner image: Thawing Web, Amy Hoagland's thesis exhibition at the CU Art Museum, on view through April 14, 2022. (Credit: Amy Hoagland) 

CU Boulder artist Amy Hoagland has received national recognition for her artwork, which addresses climate change, sustainability and humans’ relationship with the natural world. 

Hoagland, a candidate for a Master of Fine Art in Sculpture, was selected for the top $10,000 award in a fellowship and award program created by nonprofit Honoring the Future and supported by the Windgate Foundation. The new program recognizes emerging craft artists who advance sustainability through their art. 

The award announcement comes during the last weeks of Hoagland’s time as a graduate student at CU Boulder, and her thesis work on display in the Spring 2022 Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition through April 14 at the CU Art Museum. Thawing Web is the culmination of three years of work and research.

Amy Hoagland

Amy Hoagland with her artworks from Thawing Web. (Credit: Ben Hernstrom) 

Artwork image

“Tricky Balance” from Hoagland's thesis exhibition Thawing Web. (Credit: Amy Hoagland)

These works focus on a site-specific ice cave in Rifle, Colorado. The cave’s cyclical and seasonal nature inspired Hoagland as the place represents a way to experience physical change in our environment on a time scale humans can recognize. 

“People who aren't visibly affected by climate change, it's sometimes hard to comprehend. I'm interested in this cave because it's a visual of time moving really quickly,” said Hoagland.

An artist who often mixes and matches unconventional materials and mediums, Hoagland welded together rods of scientific glass—the same borosilicate glass used to make beakers, pipes and cylinders typically used in laboratories—to build triangular, web-like sculptures. These artworks, now on display at the CU Art Museum, were temporarily installed within the cave and melded with its ice as it melted, dripped and froze again. 

Hoagland grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, where she was immersed in the natural landscapes around her, even within an industrial city. This coming-of-age experience informed her work, breaking down barriers between humans and the landscape at a young age. 

“My work stems from deep care for the landscape and a desire to relate and understand landscapes,” said Hoagland. “I hope to create more empathy from the viewer because I really think that with more empathy, we can better relate to the landscape and treat it in a more symbiotic way.”

During her time at CU Boulder, Hoagland has also been involved on and off campus with community art-making. She is an Engaged Arts and Humanities Scholar through the Office of Outreach and Engagement, a member of its 2021–22 Art + Science + Action Cohort and worked with CU Science Discovery and the Cal-wood Education Center in 2021 to create work that helped the local community heal after the 2020 Calwood Fire and reflect on the impacts of climate change.

Hoagland was nominated for the fellowship by her advisor, Richard Saxton, associate professor of sculpture and post-studio practice, and selected by jurors across the country from the Smithsonian American Renwick Gallery, San Diego State University’s Woodworking and Furniture Design Program and Honoring the Future. 

Now on view

See Amy Hoagland’s work, Thawing Web, in the Spring 2022 Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition at the CU Art Museum, April 2–14. Admission is free. Open Tuesdays–Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

Hoagland will use her award funds to create work after a 2023 summer residency in the Arctic, where she will accompany scientists and fellow artists on a sailing vessel around the Svalbard archipelago. On the expedition, she will 3D scan icebergs with her camera and later use a computer software program to stitch those images together, as well as take cyanotype prints, photographs and videos of the ice. The fellowship will allow Hoagland to synthesize that material and create artworks from it.

“I'm really interested in challenging the Western perspective that nature is separate from human society,” said Hoagland. “By spending time in the landscape, I'm investigating this connection, and then I explore that connection through my sculptures.”