School of Art
Associate Professor, Studio Arts (Sculpture)
Sam Van Aken is a contemporary artist who works beyond traditional modes of art making, crossing artistic genres and disciplines to develop new perspectives on such themes as communication, botany, agriculture, climatology, and the ever-increasing impact of technology.
Employing “anti-structures and unknowing as generative processes”, Van Aken’s interventions in the natural and public realm are seen as metaphors that serve as the basis of narrative, sites of place making, and in some cases even become the basis of scientific research.
Born in Reading Pennsylvania, Sam Van Aken received his undergraduate education in Art and Communication Theory. Immediately following his studies he lived in Poland and worked with dissident artists under the former communist regime through the auspices of the Andy Warhol Foundation and the United States Information Agency. Van Aken received his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and since this time his work has exhibited nationally and internationally receiving numerous honors including a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, Association of International Curator’s of Art Award and a Creative Capital Grant. Sam Van Aken lives and works in Syracuse New York, where he is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Art at Syracuse University. Van Aken is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.
Van Aken and the Tree of 40 Fruit were recently featured in a National Geographic video.