‘Perceptions of Identity’ on display at Christian Petersen Art Museum

“Perceptions of Identity: Paintings by Rose Frantzen” in the Christian Petersen Art Museum, Morrill Hall.

Margaret Troup

Paintings by Iowa-native artist Rose Frantzen are on display at the Christian Petersen Art Museum now through July 30.

“Perceptions of Identity” is a multi-piece exhibit in Morrill Hall that focuses on the identity of peoples’ faces through a series of optical illusions.

“[Frantzen] did a lot of different studies of landscapes in northeast Iowa,” said Sydney Marshall, an Iowa State alumni and assistant curator for University Museums. “She’s from Maquoketa, Iowa.”

“Perceptions of Identity” holds paintings from multiple series by Frantzen, including “In the Face of Illusion” and “Incognito.” 

“The idea of this exhibition is to understand Frantzen’s process for working with art on campus,” Marshall said. “With the rest of the series, the focus is really on the identity of people and how you get to know somebody and what biases people may hold.”

While some of the featured paintings are of Iowa landscapes, the majority are portraits by Frantzen, which are what she is primarily known for.

Frantzen’s talents are so well-known that some of her portraits have been displayed in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

“Her largest show is at the Smithsonian,” Marshall said. “She was featured there doing portraits of Maquoketa, which is a series she did of people in her town.”

Frantzen’s portraits in her “In the Face of Illusion” series are anything but typical. With a combination of hyper-realistic paintings, tricks of the eye and seemingly impossible shapes, Frantzen’s portraits offer an artistic point of view observers have never seen before.

Frantzen will be adding to her portrait collection by including Iowa State students.

“[Frantzen] will be here in March,” Marshall said. “Due to COVID-19, we’re going to be doing a live stream of quite a few of [her paintings.] There were six students who were nominated by deans, two of which were nominated by Wendy Wintersteen. They will be honored in a portrait for students’ perspectives during COVID-19.”

“Perceptions of Identity” is open at the Christian Petersen Art Museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Cyclones Care COVID-19 guidelines will be in place at all times during any in-person events. This includes required face coverings and social distancing.