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Octagon exhibition juror Tom Loeser to speak at ISU College of Design Jan. 30

January 19, 2016


"Handle: Dig 23" (spalted maple, shovel handles, 2015) by Tom Loeser.

AMES, Iowa — Tom Loeser, juror for the Octagon Center for the Arts' "48th Clay, Fiber, Paper, Glass, Metal, Wood" exhibition, will speak Saturday, Jan. 30, at Iowa State University.

Loeser will present "Contemporary Perspectives and Practices in Furniture Design" at 10 a.m. in Kocimski Auditorium, room 101 College of Design. Sponsored by the Department of Art and Visual Culture and the College of Design, his lecture is free and open to the public.

"Roll-Ups" (felt, firewood, steel, 2012) by Tom Loeser.

A Vilas Research Professor and the CR "Skip" Johnson Professor of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Loeser chaired the university's Department of Art from 2009 to 2014 and has headed the wood/furniture area since 1991. He previously taught at California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland; Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; and Swain School of Design, New Bedford, Massachusetts. In 2003 he spent six months teaching and researching in London.

Willow-and-steel pods installed as reading retreats in children's section of the Madison Public Library in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. Designed and constructed by Tom Loeser with Dave Chapman.

Loeser designs and builds one-of-a-kind objects that often are carved and painted and always based on the history of design and object making. His artwork has been shown in more than 200 national and international exhibitions and is part of the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Houston, Renwick Gallery, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, Milwaukee Museum of Art and Brooklyn Museum, among others.

He has received four Visual Artist Fellowship Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1993 he spent six months in Japan on an NEA Creative Artist Exchange Fellowship. In 2010 he collaborated with his wife, Bird Ross, on the design and fabrication of the nontraditional, kid-friendly, interactive reception desk for the new Madison Children's Museum. He collaborated with Ross again on the Stoop Project as part of the 2013 Wisconsin Triennial at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Also in 2013, Loeser worked with willow furniture maker Dave Chapman to build three large willow-and-steel pod forms that are permanently installed reading retreats in the children's section of the new downtown public library in Madison.

Loeser holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and anthropology from Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania; a Bachelor of Fine Arts in furniture design from Boston University; and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

Chris Martin, Art and Visual Culture, (515) 294-1639,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,