Studies in Creativity: ISU students contend for art gallery space

Alexis Dwyer’s “Sand Dunes”

Bailey Freestone

Studies in Creativity is the annual art exhibit currently on display at the Gallery of the Memorial Union. This art exhibit was open for all ISU students, who had the option to enter up to three pieces of their original artwork into the show. All pieces of artwork were submitted and then juried by Laura Burkhalter, a Curator at the Des Moines Art Center. Burkhalter chose 40 pieces of student artwork to be displayed in the Gallery from Oct. 23 to Dec. 9.

Clark Colby: “Unincorporated Town of Xavier”

Clark Colby is a graduate student from the Des Moines area pursuing a master’s of science in architecture degree. Colby already has a bachelor of architecture degree, a secondary major in environmental studies and a minor in design studies with a focus in photography, ceramics and woodworking.

Colby entered his photograph titled “Unincorporated Town of Xavier” into the Studies in Creativity Art Exhibit. The panoramic photo printed on a circular canvas is what makes Colby’s photograph unique. 

Colby has been practicing panoramic photography since 2008, which he said eventually turned into 360-degree panoramic photos. In 2012, he started questioning how to properly frame a circular image.

“I started thinking, maybe I could stretch a canvas on a huge embroidery hoop inspired stretcher,” Colby said. “So I salvaged a desktop and made a jig and started going in circles with a router until I had an inner and outer hoop. Minus a few small mistakes, it actually worked. The circle presents the work much more pleasantly.”

For this particular piece of artwork, Colby’s goal was to take a photo in way that would allow his viewers to see Iowa in a new way. He said he hopes that this particular photo brings light to how important certain buildings or structures, such as a grain bin, are to our agricultural systems.

Maddy Baker: “Self Portrait” 

Maddy Baker is a junior studying graphic design with a minor in biological illustration. Baker is from West Des Moines and entered a self-portrait into the art exhibit.

Baker’s artwork was originally an assignment in her figure drawing class last year. The assignment was to choose an artist who created a portrait that demonstrated good lighting as well as facial structure and then do a response to their work.

Baker chose to use Gregory Gillespie’s artwork for her inspiration. Instead of drawing a portrait of someone else she chose to draw herself. Baker said she chose Gillespie because his self-portrait was in color and was realistic.

“I love realism and I hadn’t experimented with color much, so I took this as an opportunity to strengthen my technique,” Baker said.

Baker also entered her self-portrait into the 2014 Iowa State Fair and won Best of Show in the adult division. Baker said this assignment was a learning experience and something she is proud of.

“It has taught me that when I push my limits I gain a lot, which makes me want to challenge myself and take on more difficult project,” Baker said.

Hannah Prosch: “1124 2nd Street II”

Hannah Prosch is a junior from Dubuque, Iowa studying design. Prosch entered an ink drawing into the Studies in Creativity Art Exhibit that she called “1124 2nd Street II.”

Prosch originally did this piece of artwork for her drawing reconstruction class. The assignment was to copy the style of an artist. Prosch chose to use the art of Ludwig Meidner for her inspiration.

Meidner practiced the style of expressionism which according to Prosch, is just quick mark making in ink. She said she chose to use Meidner’s style of work because it was dark and apocalyptic. According to Prosch, the piece could make the viewer look longer to see what it is. 

The building in Prosch’s drawing is located in Perry, Iowa. She chose to use the town of Perry because her class will have an art exhibit in a building that the professor of the class is currently working on.

“I just went on Google Maps Street View and just looked around the town until I found a view with a cool composition,” Prosch said.

Prosch said she did several sketches of different views throughout the town before she found “1124 2nd Street”. This is Prosch’s first time entering her artwork into an exhibit like this.

Caroline Freese: “Master Collage: Edward Hopper”

Caroline Freese is a junior with a major in integrated studio arts. Freese entered a master collage into the art exhibit that she titled “Edward Hopper” after her inspiration from Edward Hopper’s “Chop Suey.”

“Master collage means it’s a copy, but you alter one thing about it,” Freese said. “So, I altered the medium.”

Freese made her collage out of different pieces of colored magazine pages. According to Freese, this assignment took her about a month to put together because she needed to match the different colors in the original piece of work.

The assignment was for her color theory class. Each student was required to optically mix colors so it wouldn’t turn out exactly like the original art but look very similar.

“Another thing I did differently was, instead of finding blocks of color, I found text that had color behind it,” Freese said. “This way when you look up close at it, you can read the words.”

This is Freese’s second time entering her artwork into the Studies in Creativity show; it is also her second time displaying this specific piece of art. Freese said she entered it into her county fair and received a lot of positive feedback, which is why she chose to enter it into this exhibit.

Freese said she enjoys making collages because it can be meditative. She plans on making a collage for a focus grant as well.

Alexis Dwyer: “Sand Dunes”

Alexis Dwyer is in the integrated visual arts program and is working on getting her masters in fine arts. Dwyer entered her collages titled “Sand Dunes.”

Dwyer enjoys entering her artwork into different art exhibits. Dwyer’s collage consisted of several different types of mediums, including a wooden panel, acrylic paint, pieces of prints she had made but hadn’t worked and images from old books and magazines.

The print that Dwyer had cut up was a piece she had made inspired by the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

“I think a lot about nature and the interactions in nature and how things come to be,” said Dwyer, while talking about her inspiration.

Once she had found all the pieces she wanted to use, Dwyer started piecing the different types of mediums together to get an image she liked. Dwyer said the project took her half a semester, or about 25 hours, to complete.

In one of her classes last spring Dwyer came up with the idea to mix a painting and a collage together. Dwyer was inspired by her experiences traveling to different national parks with her grandparents as a child.

“I guess I am just trying to make sense of me and nature and where do we come together,” Dwyer said.

Most of Dwyer’s personal artwork is inspired by her experiences, such as traveling to The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.