New Hampshire Institute of Art | Manchester NH, USA
2019 | MFA - Visual Arts

Willem de Kooning Academy | Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2011 | BFA - Fine Arts

Lesley University College of Art and Design | Boston MA, USA
2009 - 2010 | Study Abroad Term (BFA - Fine Arts)

University of Bonn | Bonn, Germany
2004 - 2007 | Art History, Archeology, Modern History

Academic Work

‣ 2019 - present

Assistant Professor of Visual Arts and Communications
Communication Research Institute at William Penn University | Iowa, USA

‣ 2011 - 2019

Adjunct Professor, Art and Design Faculty
University of Massachusetts Lowell | Massachussetts, USA

Adjunct Professor, Illustration Faculty
Lesley University College of Art and Design | Massachussetts, USA

Adjunct Professor, Art and Design Faculty
Salem State University | Massachussetts, USA

Artist Statement

What is nature and what is natural? These questions become progressively harder to answer as the impact of human intervention into the ecosphere expands. The same questions inform my interdisciplinary and research-based studio practice, which is committed to explore and survey environmental and ecological systems. Informed by object-oriented ontology and motivated by critically reviewing naturalistic positions, my work discusses new definitions of nature originating from the Anthropocene, the term for the geological age in which human intervention into bionetworks has become the foremost influence on climate and environment.

 Topics of how we outline, perceive and shape concepts of the natural and the artificial, the organic and the synthetic, are central aspects that inform my work. I investigate these themes from a viewpoint located at the intersection of post-structuralist theory and the philosophical foundation of contemporary environmental studies. I review existing models of nature, environmentalism and ecology that are generally based on commonly accepted, representational structures of nature in western history, established by institutions such as museums or universities. My research results are translated into project-based, conceptual installations that explore the collapsing nature-culture distinction through an examination of materials, images, and sculptural objects. My work engages in both institutional critique as well as the interrogation of our role in shaping the world through augmented technologies.

Crossing from sculpture and print media into multifaceted arrangements of assemblages and educational displays, I often work with industrial resources that are part of the ongoing modification of the natural world, including light, (ply)wood, electronics, cast plastics, or metals. These components are often put in dialog with organic matter to underline the dichotomy of object and subject, from a semiotic perspective, when it comes to the question of what nature apparently is, what it is not, and how our understanding frequently collides with it. 

Markus Haala was born in 1982 in Recklinghausen, Germany. He received his BFA in Fine Arts from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and his MFA in Visual Arts from the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, NH, where he studied with artists Mark Dion, Mathias Kessler, Michael Oatman, and Craig Stockwell. He is an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts and Communications in the Communication Research Institute at William Penn University, Iowa, USA.