Erin Wiersma

Associate Professor & Area Coordinator, Drawing and Painting

Erin Portrait


Office: Willard 224

M.F.A. Studio Art - Painting, University of Connecticut, 2009
B.A. Studio Art - Painting, Messiah College, 2004
Istituto San Lodovico, Study Abroad, Orvieto, Italy 2003


Erin Wiersma is a visual artist whose ongoing studio practice focuses on the body's capacity to absorb and respond to an environment. Her current practice is site-specific, located within Konza Prairie Biological Station. She is represented by Robischon Gallery in Denver, Colorado, and Galerie Wehlau in Munich, Germany, which published "After the Burn," a catalog of her most recent exhibition. Wiersma's work has been featured in numerous exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Selections from her exhibition history include "Earthly Observatory" at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Galleries and Wester: Works on Paper from the Konza Prairie at the Mid-America Arts Alliance, along with various solo and group exhibitions. She has also been selected for multiple residencies, speaking engagements, commissions, and publications, including the 20/21 The Drawing Center's Viewing Program, the 2022 Prairie Festival Artist at The Land Institute, and The Center for Human and Nature's publication "Minding Nature." Wiersma currently serves as Associate Professor of Art and Coordinator of the Drawing Area.

"My artistic practice focuses on the body's capacity to absorb and respond to an environment. The Konza Prairie works on paper are created on location in one of the few remaining protected grasslands in the world. I create a record of the land, using both bio-char produced from controlled burns and the embossing from the forbs, fauna, and rocky terrain as they incise and transform the paper surface, echoing the topography. Pulling, rubbing, dragging, pushing, and lifting -- changed by the elements; wind, temperature, humidity, and landscape itself. Paper offers an unparalleled medium to make the process visible to the viewer. I create with the prairie; it influences my actions into large-scale works, resulting from each locale's varying burn treatments, fire intensities, and vegetative composition. As the prairie becomes both the subject and the medium, a new landscape is revealed, allowing me to know where I dwell."

Konza Prairie



Wiersma Transect

Wiersma Transect

Earthly Observatory Chicago