Trio of artists share messages through artwork at Iowa State

Emma Hovick

Iowa State displays art from more than a hundred women. From the artwork displayed inside various halls and museums to other buildings on campus, there’s a little touch of women everywhere.

Some of the artists may be more recognizable than others, such as Stephanie Brunia, Norie Sato and Sara Grant, who all are commonly known on campus and have a lot of work on display. 

Brunia created her artwork between undergraduate and graduate school. She was interested in how narrative works in visual imagery and looked at a lot of historical paintings. The biggest patron at the time was the church, so a lot of the stories were biblical.

“I was really interested in how gestures within the images could tell a story and a lot of the myths that the stories hold, as people we know how to recognize certain figures,” Brunia said. “It was just kind of this cannon of our history that I was use to reading.” 

Brunia turned and applied everything that she had read onto her own personal narrative. She thought about her own stories and myths that have made her. In the body of work on campus, she was dealing a lot with stories of being the middle child.

Brunia, who is the middle child of three girls, remembered a lot of conflict in their household while growing up, which inspired her artwork.

Her four pieces of artwork are currently in storage at Morrill Hall until the modeling of Carver Hall is finished.

Sato works from site and function. Her artwork on campus was inspired by what occurs in the various buildings where her work is located. At the Palmer Building, she was inspired by the process of life, early life and late life. She worked with words to convey that.

“The sandblasted words signify time and community, both concepts important to the function of the building,” Sato said.

Sato drew inspiration from the chemical patterns in Hach Hall and how they flow into each other. The world allows an immersion into the patterns as one moves from inside to outside. Her Marston Hall piece is all about engineering and putting parts together along with the inspiration and connections between various types of engineering.

Her three pieces are on display at Hach Hall, Marston Hall and Palmer.

“I never know what direction that work will take until I am into a project and have time to see what I might wish to work with and what concepts I might wish to express,” Sato said.

Grant works for the client, and her message comes mainly from the message they wish to deliver. Themes could be relative to the department and the works that they would be displayed in.

“In public places such Iowa State University, I often use charettes with faculty, students and the public to get feedback for the artwork’s content, then on to our research and ultimately the finished product,” Grant said.

Grant has a lot of artwork on display around campus, all of which can be located by searching her name in the online database. The online database has entries for all of the works on campus and can be used to locate a specific artist’s piece or browse the variety of art Iowa State has to offer.