Getting at nature


"Any artistic endeavor is as much about process as it is about product. Peg Fierke and Robert Eagerton, both recently retired from Herron School of Art & Design after several decades of teaching there, continue to challenge themselves as artists — and teachers — by expanding their use of printmaking techniques with digital technologies. Fierke and Eagerton’s two-person exhibition, Evolving Imagery, on view at the Indiana State Museum, offers a thoroughly satisfying survey of their recent work along these lines.

Fierke, who takes a more cerebral approach to exploring natural phenomena and the interplay between aesthetic value and biology, is truly an interdisciplinary artist: Curious about chaos theory, for example, she might explore the endless variations of matter through a repetitive image that appears static but is anything but. Fierke is an accomplished draftsperson, which gives solid footing to all of her artistic explorations. From here, she explores her visual and intellectual ideas through printmaking processes such as mezzotint and non-etched intaglio prints (a largely nontoxic intaglio method).

Topics under consideration include such diverse image-subjects as a cat’s skull, muscle cells, dog snouts, car doors and ocean waves, all of these distilled into their essence, whether or not making meaning from them becomes the logical next step in an effort to come to some sort of understanding.

Eagerton, who has also employed printmaking techniques throughout his career, also is drawn to natural phenomena as a starting point for more personal visual observations. While Fierke’s imagery is beautiful in an almost remote or objective sense, Eagerton’s images, which are just as beautiful and technically accomplished, convey a certain emotive quality rather than a distanced one.

Over the course of his career, Eagerton, too, has found aesthetic refuge in certain imagery as well as techniques, perpetuating the iconic status of a fish, say, or a bird, these serving as visual anchors in his evolving toolbox of techniques and contextual possibilities. A moth is juxtaposed with a dancing fire in “Drift (Moth and Flame),” becoming a sort of dream image, while other images are quilted together in highly structured compositions with a different sort of connective tissue, interspersed with patterned sections and meticulous drawings. Using digital processes, Eagerton now incorporates his photographs, so that his images, like Fierke’s, are equally layered, equally meditative, if coming from a different philosophical vantage point.

Fierke and Eagerton can be counted among the city’s more serious and highly regarded career artists. Both continue to be exemplars of the notion that beauty is often the best conveyor of truth.

Evolving Imagery: Prints and Drawings by Peg Fierke and Robert Eagerton is on view at the Indiana State Museum through March 16, 2008. Call 317-232-1637 or visit

Evolving Imagery:

Prints and Drawings

by Peg Fierke and Robert Eagerton

Indiana State Museum

Through March 16



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