UW-Madison Trout Lake Station

Artist in Residency and Artist Mentor

Terrill has been selected as an artist mentor at Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction, WI for the 2022 summer session. He is one of three artists selected to work with a researcher and intern in an art and science collaboration. For more information, see the Art and Science page of the Trout Lake Station website.         

Trout Lake Station is a year-round field station located in northern Wisconsin on the southern shore of Trout Lake in Vilas County. It is operated by the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since 2006, they have brought artists and scientists together through collaborative projects and their artist in residency program. Terrill was chosen as a Trout Lake Artist in Residence in 2020. However, due to the pandemic, it was the Fall of 2021 before he was able to visit Trout Lake for his residency.  The primary areas of interest that he explored while there, that coincided with current research efforts by scientists Gretchen Gerrish and Susan Knight, included wild rice and wild rice lakes/rivers, as well as bogs and bog ecology.

Below are several paintings Terrill completed either on location in the Trout Lake Station area, or after returning to his studio.


The concept of the art/science connection has been on Terrill's mind for a long time. While teaching at Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, he developed a curriculum entitled 'The Unity of Art and Science'. This is why the Trout lake Artist in Residency position was of such interest to him.

The following is a brief summary of Terrill's ideas on this topic that he has shared with Trout Lake staff:

Art and Science

What can happen when art and science interchange? An artist works toward unraveling the challenges that his subject and medium present. Whether in poetry, music, or visual expression, there is a continual effort to understand how the pieces fit together so that something significant or poetic can be suggested. In scientific investigation the tools, methods and variables are always in a state of being evaluated. This questioning, understanding, organizing and communicating our perceptions are essential to both art and science. Artists and scientists are moved to pursue their work with a passion because they are inwardly connected to that pursuit because it has an intrinsic meaning for them.

Looking further, the empirical and the transcendent, the accurate and the interpreted are best not considered separate, but in continual corresponding relationship. The pragmatic and the visionary are inseparably connected and are mutually necessary to give meaning to each other. These reciprocal relationships create an energy that is mutually supportive. The search for understanding this world, our relationships, and responsibility belong to both. True science and the arts have a sense of beauty and poetry about them. That perception is amplified when they are connected.

Terrill Knaack 11/24/2021
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