Meg Ojala: I Want to Show You Something

February 9 – April 15, 2018


Meg Ojala: I Want to Show You Something celebrates the 35-year teaching career of Meg Ojala, Professor of Art at St. Olaf College, with a body of new work – a photographic exploration of bogs and fens. For the past 15 years, Ojala’s large-scale photographs have described the spatial ambiguities and seasonal changes on the prairies and riverbanks close to her home and studio near Northfield, Minnesota. This exhibition is a meandering visual and poetic search through ecologically crucial peatlands in Finland, Ireland and Minnesota. Bogs are disorienting, often impassable, ambiguous, slowly changing bodies of sphagnum moss, sedges, carnivorous plants, cranberries, tamarack, and black spruce. The installation of photographs, text, and prints of these captivating ecosystems envelops the viewer in their paradoxes and unfathomability.

The exhibition is complemented by Barbara Hurd’s new collection of essays, Invitations to the Indefinite, presented with selected photographs by Ojala in a full-color catalog. In-gallery copies are complimentary. To receive a copy by mail for a small shipping fee, contact Flaten Art Museum at

Museum closed for Spring Break March 24 – April 2.


Listen to Minnesota Public Radio’s “Art Hounds” segment where photography historian George Slade discusses Meg Ojala’s photographs.

“Reveal the wonder of what’s underfoot” by reading about Meg Ojala: I Want to Show You Something in an article from the St. Olaf home page.


Opening Reception
Friday, February 16, 5-7 p.m. | Remarks at 5:30 p.m.
Join artist Meg Ojala and curator Jane Becker Nelson as they introduce the exhibition.

Arnold Flaten Memorial Lecture with Barbara Hurd
Monday, February 26, 7 p.m.
Center for Art and Dance 305
Live-stream Hurd’s presentation. Attend another lecture in the Arnold Flaten Memorial Lecture Series.

Interdisciplinary Writing Workshop with Barbara Hurd
Tuesday, February 27, 3:30–5 p.m.
Center for Art and Dance 202 | Registration required
This workshop with award-winning author Barbara Hurd is open to St. Olaf students from all disciplines. Limit 16 participants.

Gallery Dialogue with Barbara Hurd and Meg Ojala
Wednesday, February 28, noon
Meander through bogs and fens with author Barbara Hurd and artist Meg Ojala.


Meg Ojala, professor of Art and Art History, received her BA from the University of Minnesota and her MFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Ojala closely observes, draws, and photographs the landscape. She explores perceptions of space, the visual poetry of representation and abstraction, and the ways in which photographs transform the world.

Ojala’s landscape projects include photographs for conservation and protection efforts such as This Perennial Land, a book project encouraging conservation of the Blue Earth watershed, and an interdisciplinary project with St. Olaf colleagues and students retracing the 1838 expedition route of Joseph N. Nicollet.

Ojala is a recipient of numerous awards including multiple McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowships for Photographers, Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grants, and a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council. Ojala has exhibited nationally and internationally and is represented by Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis.


Barbara Hurd is the author of Listening to the Savage / River Notes and Half-Heard Melodies (2016), Tidal Rhythms (with photographer Stephen Strom, 2016), Stepping into the Same River Twice (with artist Patricia Hilton, 2013), Walking the Wrack Line (2008), Entering the Stone, a Library Journal Best Natural History Book of the Year (2003), The Singer’s Temple (2003), Stirring the Mud, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001 (2001), and Objects in this Mirror (1994). Her work has appeared in numerous journals including Bellingham Review, Prairie Schooner, Best American Essays, The Yale Review, The Georgia Review, Orion, Audubon, and others. The recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction, winner of the Sierra Club’s National Nature Writing Award, four Pushcart Prizes, and five Maryland State Arts Council Awards, she teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.


The development of this exhibition was supported in part by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC). Programming is co-presented with support from the Leraas Fund, Flaten Memorial Lecture Series, Paul and Mildred Hardy Distinguished Professor of Science, Department of English, Writing Center, and Dean’s Funds from the Fine Arts, Humanities, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics.