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ISU College of Design art professor, alumna win Octagon Center for the Arts exhibition awards

January 26, 2015

"If she got really quiet and listened, new parts of her wanted to speak" (chalk pastel) by Meghan Flynn.
"As Is" (egg tempera) by Meghan Flynn.
"Martini Chair" (steel, burr oak, afzelia burl and leather) by Chris Martin. Photo by George Ensley.


AMES, Iowa — Two artists with ties to the Iowa State University College of Design earned top honors in the 47th national Clay, Fiber, Paper, Glass, Metal, Wood exhibition at the Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames.

Guest juror Pauline Verbeek-Cowart, chair of the Kansas City Art Institute fiber department, announced awards during the opening reception Friday, Jan. 23.

Best of show
ISU alumna Meghan Flynn won the Winifred V. Brown Best of Show award for two entries: a chalk pastel drawing titled "If she got really quiet and listened, new parts of her wanted to speak" and a self-portrait painting, "As Is" (egg tempera).

Of the drawing, Verbeek-Cowart remarked, "It's just so real. The facial expression is so honest and so revealing. There are questions about this piece, and that's why I like it."

Verbeek-Cowart also enjoyed the newspaper hat Flynn wears in her self-portrait painting and couldn't choose between the two works, so the best of show award recognizes both, she said.

Flynn received a bachelor of fine arts in integrated studio arts from Iowa State in 2011 and a master of fine arts in painting and drawing from Washington State University, Pullman, in 2013. She is a lecturer in art at the University of Wisconsin-Marinette.

Second place
Chris Martin, ISU associate professor of art and visual culture, was awarded second place for "Martini Chair" (steel, burr oak, afzelia burl and leather).

"What struck me is the symmetrical placement of the hide on the seat. It shows someone who really knows the materials," Verbeek-Cowart said. "It's so inventive and so fun.”

Martin holds a BFA in craft design (1990) from Iowa State and an MFA in furniture design (1994) from the Rhode Island School of Design. He joined the ISU art faculty in 1999 and was promoted to associate professor in 2006. He is the co-owner of Chris Martin Furniture in Ames.

The Clay, Paper, Glass, Metal, Wood exhibition features 65 original artworks by 64 artists from 12 states, including 18 who are students, faculty members or alumni of the ISU College of Design. More than 320 entries were submitted for consideration. The show is on display through April 4 in the Octagon's Main Gallery.

Naomi Friend, Octagon Center for the Arts, (515) 232-5331,
Meghan Flynn, Art Department, University of Wisconsin-Marinette, (717) 735-4300, ext. 4322,
Chris Martin, Art and Visual Culture, (515) 294-1639,
Emily Elveru, Design Communications, (763) 441-6323,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,